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2018, Vol. 82, No. 1, 24-40


Irwin, H.J., & Marks, A.D.G. (2018). Belief in the Paranormal: A State, or a Trait? Journal of Parapsychology, 82, 24-40.

Editor-in-Chief Etzel Cardeña, Ph.D.
© Rhine Research Center

Belief in the Paranormal: A State, or a Trait?

Harvey J Irwin and Anthony D.G. Marks

University of New England

Christian Geiser

Utah State University

Abstract: Although belief in paranormal phenomena has long been studied as if it were a psychological trait, many commentators recently have preferred to define beliefs as a psychological state. Somewhat surprisingly, the psychometric decomposition of a belief into state and trait components has yet to be undertaken. To this end, we invited a sample of 584 American adults to complete a questionnaire measure of paranormal and traditional religious beliefs on four occasions at monthly intervals. An application of latent state-trait models to the data showed both paranormal belief and traditional religious belief to be predominantly trait-like constructs, with a small but significant state-like component. These findings may have specific implications for the assessment of paranormal beliefs, as well as general implications for a state theory of beliefs.

Keywords: precall, precognition, contingent reward, arousing images

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