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Introducing the Modified Paranormal Belief Scale: Distinguishing Between Classic Paranormal Beliefs, Religious Paranormal Beliefs and Conventional Religiosity Among Undergraduates in Northern Ireland and Wales

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Previous empirical studies concerned with the association between paranormal beliefs and conventional religiosity have produced conflicting evidence. Drawing on Rice's (2003) distinction between classic paranormal beliefs and religious paranormal beliefs, the present study proposed a modified form of the Tobacyk Revised Paranormal Belief Scale to produce separate scores for these two forms of paranormal belief, styled 'religious paranormal beliefs' and 'classic paranormal beliefs'. Data provided by a sample of 143 undergraduate students in Northern Ireland and Wales, who completed the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity alongside the Tobacyk Revised Paranormal Belief Scale, demonstrated that conventional religiosity is positively correlated with religious paranormal beliefs, but independent of classic paranormal beliefs. These findings provide a clear framework within which previous conflicting evidence can be interpreted. It is recommended that future research should distinguish clearly between these two forms of paranormal beliefs and that the Tobacyk Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale should be routinely modified to detach the four religious paranormal belief items from the total scale score.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK; 2: Institute of Education, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK;, Email: leslie.francis@warwick.ac.uk; 3: Glyndŵr University, Wales, UK

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