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Paranormal Belief, Thinking Style and Delusion Formation: A Latent Profile Analysis of Within-Individual Variations in Experience-Based Paranormal Facets

Drinkwater, Kenneth Graham and Dagnall, Neil and Denovan, Andrew and Williams, Christopher (2021) Paranormal Belief, Thinking Style and Delusion Formation: A Latent Profile Analysis of Within-Individual Variations in Experience-Based Paranormal Facets. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

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Abstract

This study examined the degree to which within-individual variations in paranormal experience were related to belief in the paranormal, preferential thinking style, and delusion formation. A sample of 956 non-clinical adults completed measures assessing experience-based paranormal indices (i.e., paranormal experience, paranormal practitioner visiting, and paranormal ability), paranormal belief, belief in science, proneness to reality testing deficits, and emotion-based reasoning. Latent profile analysis (LPA) combined the experience-based indices to produce six underlying groups. Inter-class comparison via multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) indicated that both breadth and intensity of experiential factors were associated with higher belief in in the paranormal, increased proneness to reality testing deficits, and greater emotion-based reasoning. Belief in science, however, was less susceptible to experiential variations. Further analysis of reality testing subscales revealed that experiential profiles influenced levels of intrapsychic activity in subtle and intricate ways, especially those indexing Auditory and Visual Hallucinations and Delusional Thinking. Collectively, identification of profiles and inter-class comparisons provided a sophisticated understanding of the relative contribution of experiential factors to differences in paranormal belief, belief in science, proneness to reality testing deficits, and emotion-based reasoning.

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