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Paranormal beliefs, religious beliefs 

and personality correlates 

 

 

By 


Chris Huntley, 

Bsc (Hons)

,  

and  


Tim Peeters, 

Lic Psyc, MSc Psych 

 

 

Presented in April 2005 at Manchester Metropolitan University, 



U.K.  


 



PARANORMAL BELIEFS, 



RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND 

PERSONALITY CORRELATES 

 

 

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Chris 

Huntley, 

Bsc (Hons)

, (

chris.huntley@gmail.com



), and to Tim 

Peeters, 

Lic Psyc, MSc Psych

 (

Timpeetersleuven@gmail.com



 

 



 

This study showed that religious beliefs and 

paranormal beliefs are indeed associated, 

confirming initial exploratory studies that 

suggested some kind of relationship between the 

two (Goode, 2000; Haraldsson, 1981).  The other 

mixed results reflect the need for further research 

in both religiosity and in particular paranormal 

beliefs to see if a consistent pattern of results may 

emerge. 

 

 




 

 



Dedicated to Paul Ricoeur, 1913-2005, who past away during the 

last weeks of finishing this article. 

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

© BELGA/AFP 2005



 

and to all the volunteers who took part in this study. 




 

 



ABSTRACT 

 

Previous studies have investigated the personality correlates of both 



paranormal beliefs and religious beliefs finding Neuroticism 

(Thalbourne, Dunbar and Delin, 1995) and Extraversion associated 

with the former (Thalbourne, 1981; Eysenck, 1967; Thalbourne and 

Haraldsson, 1980) and low Psychoticism (Agreeableness and 

Conscientiousness in the Five Factor Model) associated with the latter 

(see the meta-analysis by Saroglou, 2002).  The present study sought 

to replicate and extend previous research by examining not just the 

personality correlates of the two but the relationship between 

paranormal beliefs and religiosity also.  This was performed using the 

NEO-PI-R (Costa and McCrae, 1978, 1992, 1995), the Revised 

Paranormal Belief Scale (RPBS; Tobayck, 1988) and using for the 

first time with a UK sample, the Post-Critical Belief Scale (PCBS) 

developed by Hutsebaut and his colleagues to measure religiosity 

(1996, 1997, 2000).  The internal consistency of the PCBS was found 

to be more than adequate (Cronbach’s Alpha of 0.77) for this sample 

(N = 65).   A significant relationship between paranormal beliefs and 

religiosity was found with the belief in a transcendent reality 

forwarded as a possible underlying explanation for this result.  With 

regard to personality factors, only Conscientiousness was 

significantly (negatively) correlated with paranormal beliefs – a 

contrast to the previous studies mentioned, while Agreeableness was 

positively correlated with religiosity providing partial support for 

previous studies that have found Psychoticism associated with it, as 

highlighted in the meta-analysis by Saroglou (2002).  Previous studies 

had also indicated gender differences with respect to paranormal 

beliefs with females showing greater endorsement (Clarke, 1991; 

Rice, 2003; Tobayck and Milford, 1983).  However, no significant 

differences were found in this study.

 

Keywords

: Religiosity, Personality, Five factor model, Post critical 

Belief-scale, paranormal beliefs. 

Links: 


http://users.pandora.be/allemeesch/KlinPsy/text/Text-P.htm

 

http://www.ethesis.net/meta_analyse/meta_analyse_inhoud.htm



  

http://www.ethesis.net/ritualisme/ritualisme_inhoud.htm

  

http://www.rorate.com/rorate/scripts/nws_show.php?id=8052



  


 



CONTENTS 

 

SECTION 

 

PAGE 



 

1.0 INTRODUCTION 

1.1 


Paranormal Beliefs and Personality 

1.2 



Religious Beliefs and Personality 

1.3 



Paranormal and Religious Beliefs 

10 


2.0 METHOD 

13 

2.1 Design 

13 

2.2 Participants 



13 

2.3 Materials 

13 

2.3.1 


Paranormal Belief Scale 

13 


2.3.2 

Religious Belief Scale 

14 

2.3.3 Personality 



Scale 

15 


2.4 Procedure 

15 


2.5 Ethics 

15 


3.0 RESULTS 

16 

3.1 Internal 

Consistencies 

16 


3.2 

Religiosity and Paranormal Beliefs 

17 

3.3 


Paranormal Beliefs and Personality Factors 

29 


3.4 

Paranormal Beliefs and Gender 

21 

3.5 


Religiosity and Personality Factors 

22 


3.6 

Openness to Experience and the Religiosity 

subscales 

23 


3.7 Summary 

24 


4.0 DISCUSSION 

26 

4.1 


Paranormal Beliefs and Religiosity 

26 


4.2 

Paranormal Beliefs and Personality 

28 

4.3 


Paranormal Beliefs and Gender 

29 


4.4 

Religiosity and Personality Factors 

29 

 

 



 



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