Beliefs and opinions about the existence of life outside the earth: The UFO Experiences Questionnaire (UFO-Q)

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Unidentified Flying Objects (also called UFO) are usually related to the magical beliefs that accept the existence of extraterrestrial beings and alien abductions. Therefore, UFO experiences describe contacts with UFOs, extraterrestrial beings, covert alien visits and abductions. Although science provides enough advances that bet for the existence of life outside the earth, these experiences have been related and equated with paranormal beliefs under an integrative model given the magical content they manifest. The following paper presents a psychosocial study based on the statistical justification of the UFO Experiences Questionnaire (UFO-Q), which examines the underlying dimensions of UFO experiences and beliefs, as well as their social impact on the Spanish-speaking culture. The sample was of non-probabilistic convenience and consisted of 404 subjects selected from the Spanish general population. The Factorial Analyses confirmed that UFO experiences can be represented based on four dimensions: Extraterrestrial Beliefs (C1), Extraterrestrial Experiences (E1), Fearful Extraterrestrial Beliefs (T1) and Form Beliefs (C2). The analysis of items suggested that these beliefs could present two cognitive models: On the one hand, there is the magical-divergent model (irrational thinking), and on the other hand, there is also the critical-divergent (rational thinking). However, the Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis questioned both models because they only allowed the identification of the magical-divergent dimension (factor C2). This result invites us to review the validity of the integrative model that associate paranormal contents with extraterrestrial beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100124
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Abductions
  • Extraterrestrial beliefs
  • Magical beliefs
  • Paranormal beliefs
  • UFOs


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