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Title: Modelling the causes and consequences of paranormal belief and experience
Author: Lawrence, Anthony Roy
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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In this thesis I attempt to develop a basic model of the causes and consequences of paranormal belief and experience, drawing upon the seminal work of Irwin (1992). I begin by introducing the general topic of research into paranormal belief and experience, and in particular focus on the extensive review of that literature provided by Irwin (1993). From an examination of that literature I conclude that research into paranormal belief in particular, and paranormal experience also to some extent, suffers from being conducted in a piecemeal, atheoretical and often methodologically weak way. The central problems identified in the introduction are a) lack of any coherent programme of research, and b) lack of any psychometrically acceptable measure of paranormal belief (which in part stems from a lack of any agreed definition of paranormal). As concentration of a new paranormal belief scale is a Ph.D. in itself, I decide to focus mainly on the first problem - to develop a model of paranormal belief and experience development that might serve as a foundation for future programmatic research. However, firstly, I demonstrate that measures of paranormal belief are in a bad state by providing a critique of the most prevalent measure of paranormal belief, Tobacyk and Milford's (1983) Paranormal Belief State. This critique led to an exchange with Tobacyk in the Journal of Parapsychology and my replies to Tobacyk form the substance of a second chapter on the PBS. As a result of that largely theoretically and methodologically based critique, I then conduct a study to empirically confirm my position with respect to the factor structure of the PBS, and the results from two studies broadly support my view that the PBS is not best accounted for by a seven factor orthogonal structure. I then commence the main empirical component of my thesis. Covariance structure modelling is identified as an excellent tool for the development of models based on correlational survey data, and three studies are conducted which successively refine the modelling of Irwin's (1992) childhood factors model of paranormal belief development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available