According to a 2006 study, higher education seems to align itself with a higher tendency to believe in the paranormal. The researchers conducting the study expected the opposite and were surprised with the results. The study, conducted by Bryan Farha at Oklahoma City University and Gary Steward, Jr. of the University of Central Oklahoma, found that the numbers of college students that believed in the paranormal rose with higher levels of education. For instance, 23 percent of college freshman, 31 percent of seniors and 34 percent of graduate students acknowledged a belief in the paranormal.
Some of the paranormal categories that researchers polled students on included a belief in spiritual healing, a belief in witches, communication with the dead, telepathy, astrology and reincarnation.
However, fewer college students checked the "Believe" box than did those participating in similar countrywide polls in the United States. Various polls performed in 2007 showed that around 50 to 65 percent (depending on the poll) of Americans believe in ghosts and around one-third (give or take) of Americans believe in other paranormal concepts such as witches and UFOs.
Describing their findings in Skeptical Inquirer, Farha and Steward write that "As people attain higher college-education levels, the likelihood of believing in paranormal dimensions increases." Steward and Farha attributed their findings in part to the portrayal of the paranormal via the media.