UFO Conjectures

Monday, March 06, 2017

Our dear friend Martin Kottmeyer provided addendum to my piece about UFOs and the great unwashed

Hey Rich,

Re lower classes being favored in seeing ufos.  This was, in gist, but also in part, the finding of Donald Warren’s paper in Science back around the time of the Condon report: Donald  Warren, "Status Inconsistency Theory and Flying Saucer Sightings"  Science v.170  (6 November 1970) p. 137. 

He was using Gallup poll data in expectation of proving the utility of status inconsistency theory which, in essence, posited that people who were living outside the socioeconomic class expected (deserved) by their education and race were psychologically more stressed and so would see more ufos.  He sorted things by income, race, ufo belief acceptance, graphed the results and the biggest column was the one that showed “unrewarded” status inconsistency.

People who were white and well-educated, but poor nonetheless, were the ones who admitted to believing and seeing ufos.  Now the theory should also mean that people who were poorly educated, black, yet rich should equally be believers, but the graphs did not show that.  What to do – the unrewarded status inconsistency finding was undeniably statistically significant and that was good enough to publish.  Let others work out the right interpretation.

As with any single paper, one can think of a variety of interpretations of this.  Believers were content to mainly say the theory was obviously wrong and point to the all the wonderful pilots and well-endowed people of every job description they’d documented.  I feel the answer, though, is obvious when you look at other studies – the Pa scores in MMPI tests of experiencers.   It is paranoia. 

As Freud and many others have pointed out, paranoia was a function of thwarted ambition and shame – not living up to the expectations of one’s parents, peers, and society in general creates sensitivity, a sense of persecution and judgment, and a mind always defending itself and trying to explain what went wrong – conspiracies and such.  If one grew up with low expectations but got rich anyways, well, no shame in that is there? 

Why would you see ufos, threats, put-downs?  You asked the question – this is one answer.

As ever,


  • I wonder about this. Over-generalisation is always a dangerous thing.

    How about applying this social class idea to sightings of ghosts, paranormal phenomena, visions of the virgin Mary and possible other fringe topics. Race and religious orientation also plays a part (or am I also guilty?).

    Unless your data is statistically sound you are are indeed at risk of drawing false conclusions.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, March 06, 2017  

  • Martin's citation provides some data substantive support, CDA.

    But an examination of the reports themselves, when the witness is identified, bolsters my view and Mr. Warren's.

    I'm not referencing the other paranormal groups you mention. They'd require another kind of scrutiny.

    I'm only dealing with the UFO milieu.

    You shouldn't be so defensive.....being poor isn't a crime or mortal sin. It's merely a status that provokes responses different from those in a higher class.

    I'm happy to know you are defending the great unwashed.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, March 06, 2017  

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