Beliefs in Paranormal Phenomena and Locus of Control: a Field Study

Topics: Paranormal, Parapsychology, Psychic Pages: 3 (721 words) Published: March 14, 2007
McGarry, James J.; Newberry, Benjamin H.; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 41(4), Oct 1981. pp. 725-736.

In this study, people's beliefs and attitudes toward paranormal phenomena are related to a person's locus of control in four different groups. The way the people in these groups were put together was by their involvement in paranormal practices. The subjects all received a questionnaire asking questions about their beliefs in paranormal phenomenon, locus of control, sociopolitical attitudes, and demographic characteristics. It was predicted and later confirmed that paranormal beliefs increased as involvement it paranormal activity increased, internal locus increased as belief increased, and that there is a clear relationship between locus of control and involvement.

Around the planning period of the experiment, the author learned about a psychic convention that was to be held in Niagara Falls, NY. The fair attracted many psychics and people interested in psychic phenomena, and the psychics were paid to come give readings at this convention. The sponsors of this fair also distributed a magazine called You And ESP with about 700 paying subscribers. At the fair psychic readers and attendees of the fair were given questionnaires about their beliefs and attitudes toward psychic phenomena. The questionnaire was also put in the magazine asking subscribers that had not attended the fair to fill it out and send it in and given to college students enrolled in psychology classes at Kent State University.

The three main hypotheses of this experiment were involvement in paranormal phenomena expands belief in the paranormal, increasing paranormal involvement increases internal locus, and that the involvement in paranormal activity is associated with locus of control.

The four groups of subjects were formed assuming they would, generally, have different levels of involvement in the paranormal. The first group was composed of 51 individuals,...
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