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Tweedledum And Tweedledee: Are Paranormal Disbelievers A Mirror Image Of Believers?

Dagnall, NA and Irwin, H and Drinkwater, K (2017) Tweedledum And Tweedledee: Are Paranormal Disbelievers A Mirror Image Of Believers? Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 81 (3). pp. 161-180. ISSN 0037-9751

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Abstract

This study constitutes an initial exploration of the view that paranormal disbelief is part of the same unidimensional continuum as paranormal belief, at least in regard to people’s cognitive predispositions. A convenience sample of 203 British residents was surveyed for their belief in paranormal phenomena and for previously documented cognitive correlates of such belief, namely, thinking style, aberrant salience, emotion-based reasoning, reality testing deficits, and the “unusual experiences” component of schizotypal tendencies. Based on participants’ appraisal of an account of research on a potentially paranormal phenomenon, the sample was then divided into believers and disbelievers. Most of the cognitive variables correlated with intensity of group membership to an equal degree for believers and disbelievers, but with the direction reversed. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to unidimensionality of a paranormal belief-disbelief continuum and the use of questionnaire measures of paranormal belief that incorporate a bipolar response scale.

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