Outline and Evaluate Personality Factors That Underlie Anomalous Experience

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Outline and Evaluate personality factors that underlie anomalous experience (24 Marks) Anomalous experiences are defined as unusual experiences and events that appear to defy currently known scientific laws. Certain factors are said to affect a person’s ability to perform in psi tasks, personality being one of the major influences. Ramakrishna (2001) tested a group of early adolescent high-school students in India for a correlation between personality traits and performance on ESP tasks. Using the terms ESP ‘Hitters’ for those that performed well, and ‘Missers’ for those who performed badly. He found that those who were ‘Hitters’ were warm and sociable, self-assured, relaxed and composed, whereas ‘Missers’ were tense, shy, nervous and submissive. This research suggests that personality traits affected performance in ESP tasks greatly. This theory is supported by scientific backing. This increases the reliability of the theory, as there is solid support from an external source. Palmer (1978) found that neurotic subjects tended to score at chance level or below the norm on ESP tasks, whereas well-adjusted and stable individuals were more likely to score a higher-than-chance hit rate on ESP tasks. Although this evidence provides support, there are a number of issues with it that weaken the finding’s credibility. Methodological issues are a major problem. The results found in Palmer’s study have not been replicated when such an experiment has been carried out within a group in an impromptu fashion. This is believed to be due to the deindividuation of the neurotic subject, which results in less anxiety and consequential better performance in ESP tasks. Due to this, many extraneous variables appear to have been failed to have been controlled in the work of Palmer, and so the validity of such findings is weakened. In weakening the support, you also weaken the backing for Ramakrishna’s original theory. Honorton, Ferrari and Bern (1998) were particularly interested in...
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