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Paranormal Experience Profiles and Their Association With Variations in Executive Functions: A Latent Profile Analysis

Drinkwater, Kenneth Graham, Dagnall, Neil, Denovan, Andrew, Parker, Andrew and Escolà-Gascón, Álex (2022) Paranormal Experience Profiles and Their Association With Variations in Executive Functions: A Latent Profile Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

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Abstract

This study investigated relationships between inter-class variations in paranormal experience and executive functions. A sample of 516 adults completed self-report measures assessing personal encounter-based paranormal occurrences (i.e., Experience, Practitioner Visiting, and Ability), executive functions (i.e., General Executive Function, Working and Everyday Memory, and Decision Making) together with Emotion Regulation and Belief in the Paranormal. Paranormal belief served as a measure of convergent validity for experience-based phenomena. Latent profile analysis (LPA) combined experience-based indices into four classes based on sample subpopulation scores. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) then examined interclass differences. Results revealed that breadth of paranormal experience was associated with higher levels of executive functioning difficulties for General Executive Function, Working Memory, Decision Making, and Belief in the Paranormal. On the Everyday Memory Questionnaire, scores differed on Attention Tracking (focus loss) and Factor 3 (visual reconstruction), but not Retrieval (distinct memory failure). In the case of the Emotion Regulation Scale, class scores varied on Expressive Suppression (control), however, no difference was evident on Cognitive Reappraisal (reframing). Overall, inter-class comparisons identified subtle differences in executive functions related to experience. Since the present study was exploratory, sampled only a limited subset of executive functions, and used subjective, self-report measures, further research is necessary to confirm these outcomes. This should employ objective tests and include a broader range of executive functions.

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