REALITY TESTING AND THE FORMATION OF PARANORMAL BELIEFS: A CONSTRUCTIVE REPLICATION

by HARVEY J. IRWIN
ABSTRACT:
This study investigated the role of reality testing deficits in the formation of belief in the paranormal. In the present context reality testing is taken to entail the person’s inclination to test critically the logical plausibility of his or her beliefs. An earlier study of this relationship by the author (Irwin, in press) was partially compromised by the use of an index of reality testing deficits that was potentially contaminated by a small number of items implicating paranormal belief. The current research therefore constitutes a constructive replication of the original study in that it surveyed the relationship of facets of paranormal belief to a deficit in reality testing when the measure of the latter had no items concurrently incorporating specifically paranormal beliefs. A questionnaire survey of 161 adults from the general Australian population revealed that two  fundamental facets of paranormal belief were predicted by reality testing deficits. The findings are discussed in relation to the cognitive bases of the formation of paranormal belief.
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