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Type: Journal article
Title: Believe it or not: a confirmatory study on predictors of paranormal belief, and a psi test
Author: Billows, H.
Storm, L.
Citation: Australian Journal of Parapsychology, 2015; 15(1):7-35
Publisher: Australian Institute of Parapsychological
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1445-2308
Statement of
Helen Billows and Lance Storm
Abstract: The major aim of this confirmatory study was to determine possible underlying causes of paranormal belief as discerned in the following four hypotheses: (i) ‘social marginality’ hypothesis, (ii) ‘worldview’ hypothesis, (iii) ‘cognitive deficits’ hypothesis, and (iv) ‘psychodynamic functions’ hypothesis. Paranormal belief was measured using Thalbourne’s (1995) Rasch-scaled Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (ASGS), and Thalbourne’s (2010) new measure, the Basic Limiting Principles Questionnaire (BLPQ). We hypothesized that paranormal belief (a) is higher in females compared to males, and (b) correlates positively with conceivability (imagination), locus of control (LOC), and depression. It was further hypothesised that a sheep-goat effect would be found in an online symbol-identification task, in which it was also hypothesised that a ‘reactance’ treatment (a threatening communication; Silvia, 2005) would negatively affect ESP performance. Participants (N = 149) completed the ASGS, BLPQ, Thalbourne’s (1995) Conceivability Scale, Rotter’s (1966) LOC Scale, and Beck’s (Beck et al., 1996) Depression Inventory-II. The two belief scales correlated highly and significantly. On both paranormal belief measures, mean scores were significantly higher for females compared to males. Paranormal belief (both measures) correlated significantly with conceivability (imagination), but not with LOC and depression. In the psi task, neither a reactance main effect, nor a sheep-goat main effect was found, but the results were in the directions hypothesized. This research confirms two past findings, and has made some new contributions to the parapsychological literature.
Keywords: Australian Sheep-Goat Scale; Basic Limiting Principles Questionnaire; cognitive deficits hypothesis; paranormal belief; psychodynamic functions hypothesis; social marginality hypothesis; worldview hypothesis
Rights: © 2015 AIPR, Inc.
RMID: 0030045787
Published version:;dn=347285448726063;res=IELHSS
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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