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The Representation of Chance

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Two studies were conducted which examined the social representations of chance. In Study 1 (n = 90) an exploratory interview was held with subjects from different occupational groups (theologians, para-psychologists, physicists, statisticians, philosophers, gamblers, "man/woman on the street"). Results showed different metaphors of chance for the groups. Para-psychologists had the most idiosyncratic concept of chance (most of them declaring that chance does not exist). In Study 2 (n = 440, sample of students), the representation of chance was measured using quantitative instruments. Generally chance was represented as something which really exists, which is surprising and not calculable. Believers in psi saw chance as more supernatural than did non-believers. The results of multidimensional scaling provided semantic configurations of chance for believers in psi and non-believers.


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