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Reality testing, conspiracy theories, and paranormal beliefs

Drinkwater, K and Dagnall, N and Parker, A (2012) Reality testing, conspiracy theories, and paranormal beliefs. Journal of Parapsychology, 76 (1). pp. 57-77. ISSN 0022-3387

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Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between conspiracist beliefs, reality testing, belief in the paranormal, and related anomalistic beliefs (urban legends). Attitudes toward general conspiracist beliefs and endorsement of specific conspiracy theories correlated with reality testing deficits and belief in the paranormal. High reality testing deficit scores were associated with less critical ratings of conspiracy theories and increased belief in the paranormal. Regression analysis indicated that reality testing and belief in the paranormal predicted attitudes toward general conspiracist beliefs. Partial correlation revealed that reality testing and belief in the paranormal explained similar amounts of variance; both measures were similarly associated with attitudes toward general conspiracist beliefs. Conspiracist beliefs positively correlated with related anomalistic beliefs (urban legends). Correlations were found between attitudes toward general conspiracist beliefs, conspiracy theory endorsement, and individual conspiracy theory ratings; general attitudes were associated with specific theory endorsement, and belief in one conspiracy theory was associated with belief in others. These findings are discussed in the context of recent research.

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