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Alternative Spiritualities:Different Personalities? An Enquiry Concerning Paranormal Beliefs And Traditional Religiosity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a study that examines whether belief in the paranormal serves the same psychological functions as traditional religiosity in terms of occupying the same personality space. A sample of 659 14- to 16-year-old secondary school pupils attending four schools in England completed the short-form Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire together with indices of paranormal belief and of traditional religiosity. The study employs a new index of paranormal belief, the Williams-Francis Paranormal Belief Scale. The items selected for inclusion in this instrument were specifically selected to minimise overlap between assessment of paranormal belief and assessment of traditional religiosity. The data demonstrated that, while traditional religiosity was associated with lower psychoticism scores and higher lie scale scores, paranormal belief was associated with higher psychoticism scores and lower lie scale scores. These findings suggest that paranormal beliefs may be serving a somewhat different psychological function in comparison to traditional religiosity.

Keywords: paranormal beliefs; psychoticism scale; secondary school pupils; traditional religiosity; Williams-Francis Paranormal Belief Scale



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