Correlates of paranormal beliefs, I: schizotypy.
Previous research has indicated a consistent relationship between
paranormal belief and schizotypy. The present study sought to replicate
these findings, and to explore the differential associations of various
dimensions of paranormal belief with the various dimensions of
schizotypy. Tobacyk's Paranormal Beliefs Scale (PBS), the
Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), the STA, and the Magical
Ideation and Perceptual Aberration scales were administered to a sample
of 657 undergraduate students. Item-level factor analyses of the PBS and
the SPQ each yielded 5 factors. Total scores on Tobacyk's PBS were
significantly associated with scores on the STA, the Magical Ideation
and Perceptual Aberration scales, total SPQ scores, and the Reality
Distortion and Paranoid/Suspiciousness factors of the SPQ. The Reality
Distortion dimension of schizotypy was more strongly and consistently
related to paranormal beliefs than the other factors of schizotypy. All
5 factors of paranormal belief were significantly positively correlated
with the STA and the SPQ Reality Distortion factor. Athough general
measures of paranormal belief and schizotypy are significantly related,
the association of paranormal beliefs with schizotypy varies across
different facets of paranormal belief, and does not entail all aspects
Keywords: paranormal beliefs, schizotypy, reality distortion, magical ideation
CORRELATS DES CROYANCES PARANORMALES, I : LA SCHIZOTYPIE
La recherche anterieure a indique une relation consistante entre la croyance paranormale et la schizotypie. La presente etude cherche a repliquer ces resultats et a explorer les associations differentielles de diverses dimensions de la croyance paranormale avec les diverses dimensions de la schizotypie. La Paranormal Beliefs Scale (PBS) de Tobacyk, le Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), le STA, et les echelles d'ideation magique et d'aberration perceptuelle furent administres a 657 etudiants niveau licence. Des analyses de facteur au niveau des items pour la PBS et le SPQ ont chacun fait emerge cinq facteurs. Les scores totaux sur la PBS de Tobacyk etaient significativement associes avec les scores sur la STA, les echelles d'ideation magique et d'aberration perceptuelle, les scores SPQ totaux, et les facteurs de Distorsion de la realite et de Paranoide/Tendance a la suspicion du SPQ. La dimension de Distorsion de la realite de la schizotypie fut associee plus fortement et de facon plus consistante avec les croyances paranormales que les autres facteurs de la schizotypie. Tous les 5 facteurs de la croyance paranormale etaient significativement et positivement correles avec la STA et le facteur de Distorsion de la realite du SPQ. Bien que des mesures generales de la croyance paranormale et de la schizotypie sont significativement reliees, l'association des croyances paranormales avec la schizotypie varie selon differentes facettes de la croyance paranormale, sans rendre compte de tous les aspects de la schizotypie.
CORRELATOS DE LAS CREENCIAS PARANORMALES, I: ESQUIZOTIPIA
Investigaciones previas han indicado una relacion consistente entre la creencia paranormal y la esquizotipia. Este estudio trato de replicar estos resultados y explorar las diferentes asociaciones entre las diversas dimensiones de la creencia paranormal con las diversas dimensiones de la esquizotipia. Administramos las escalas Paranormal Beliefs Scale (PBS) de Tobacyk, Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), Schizotypy Traits Questionnaire (STA), y Magical Ideation and Perceptual Aberration a una muestra de 657 estudiantes de licenciatura. Analisis factoriales a nivel de reactivo de la PBS y la SPQ arrojaron cinco factores para cada una. Las puntuaciones totales en la PBS estuvieron asociadas significativamente con las puntuaciones de la STA, con las subescalas de ideacion magica y aberracion perceptual, y con las puntuaciones totales de la SPQ y de sus subescalas de distorsion de la realidad y paranoide/ sospecha. La dimension de distorsion de la realidad de la esquizotipia mostro mas firmes y coherentes relaciones con las creencias paranormales que los otros factores de la esquizotipia. Todos los 5 factores de creencias paranormales correlacionaron significativamente con la STA y el factor de distorsion de realidad de la SPQ. Aunque las medidas generales de las creencias paranormales y la esquizotipia se relacionan significativamente, la asociacion de las creencias paranormales con la esquizotipia varia segun las diferentes facetas de las creencias paranormales y no incluye todos los aspectos de la esquizotipia.
KORRELATE PARANORMALER BELIEFSYSTEME, I: SCHIZOTYPIE
Fruhere Forschungsergebnisse legten eine konsistente Beziehung zwischen paranormaler Glaubenseinstellung und Schizotypie nahe. Die vorliegende Studie versuchte, diese Befunde zu replizieren und herauszuarbeiten, wie verschiedene Dimensionen paranormaler Glaubenseinstellung mit verschiedenen Dimensionen von Schizotypie unterschiedlich assoziiert sind. Eine Stichprobe von 657 Studenten in den Anfangssemestem fullte Tobacyks Paranormal Beliefs Scale (PBS), den Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), den STA und die Skalen zur Messung der Magical Ideation und der Perceptual Aberration aus. Faktorenanalysen der PBS auf Itemebene und der STA fuhrten jeweils zu 5 Faktoren. Die Gesamttestwerte von Tobacyks PBS waren signifikant korreliert mit denjenigen des STA, den Skalen fur Magical Ideation und Perceptual Aberration sowie den Gesamtscores des SPQ und den Reality Distortion- und Paranoid/ Suspiciousness-Faktoren des SPQ. Verglichen mit anderen Schizotypiefaktoren war die Reality Distortion-Dimension tier Schizotypie ausgepragter und konsistent auf paranormale Einstellungen bezogen.
|Author:||Kelley, Michael P.|
|Publication:||Name: The Journal of Parapsychology Publisher: Parapsychology Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Parapsychology Press ISSN: 0022-3387|
|Issue:||Date: Fall, 2011 Source Volume: 75 Source Issue: 2|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Belief in the paranormal in the general population is highly
prevalent (Ede, 2000; Eve & Dunn, 1990; Greeley, 1975; Kallery,
2001; Newport & Strausberg, 2001; Orenstein, 2002; Rice, 9003; Vyse,
1997; Yates & Chandler, 2000; Zusne & Jones, 1989). Although
there is no definition of "paranormal" that yet shares a wide
consensus, many assessments of paranormal beliefs (e.g., Newport &
Strausberg, 2001) commonly operationalize the concept of paranormal in
terms of a wide variety of phenomena, including telepathy, clairvoyance,
psychokinesis, precognition (these four are referred to as
"psi" phenomena in the parapsychological literature), ESP,
mental or spiritual healing, and other psychic, "shamanic" or
"siddhi" powers. Lindeman (Lindeman & Aarnio, 2007;
Lindeman et al., 2008) proposed the following definition:
"paranormal beliefs are beliefs in physical, biological, or
psychological phenomena that contain core ontological attributes of one
of the other two categories [e.g., a stone (physical) having thoughts
(psychological)]." Studies of the psychological correlates of
paranormal beliefs have reported a wide range of associations, including
schizotypy; temporal-limbic signs; sleep-related experiences and the
superordinate trait dimension of transliminality; and right
hemisphericity (references will be cited later).
Schizotypy is a personality dimension thought to be related to vulnerability to schizophrenia spectrum disorder, which consists of cognitive and perceptual distortions analogous to delusions and hallucinations, disorganized thought and behavior, and interpersonal deficits and social isolation analogous to the negative symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g., Raine et al. 1994). Schizotypic personality traits have been used as markers of vulnerability to schizophrenia spectrum disorders in a "behavioral high-risk paradigm" (Chapman, Chapman, Raulin, & Edell, 1978; Chapman, Edell, & Chapman, 1980). Paranormal belief assessed by Tobacyk's Paranormal Beliefs Scale (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983), the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (Thalbourne & Delin, 1993), or the Anomalous Experiences Inventory (Gallagher, Kumar, & Pekala, 1994) has been reported to be significantly associated with psychosis-proneness or schizotypy measured by several different self-report scales (Chequers, Joseph, & Diduca, 1997; Gallagher, Kumar, & Pekala, 1994; Genovese, 2005; Goulding, 2004, 2005; Hergovich, Schott, & Arendsay, 2008; Houran, Irwin, & Lange, 2001; Irwin & Green, 1998; Lange, Irwin, & Houran, 2000; Peltzer, 2003; Thalbourne, 1994, 1999; Thalbourne & Delin, 1994; Thalbourne, Dunbar, & Delin, 1995; Thalbourne & French, 1995; Thalbourne, Bartemucci, Delin, Fox, & Nofi, 1997; Tobacyk & Wilkinson, 1990; Williams, 1995; Williams & Irwin, 1991; Windholz & Diamant, 1974; Wolfradt, Oubaid, Straube, Bischoff, & Mischo, 1999; Wolfradt & Watzke, 1999). Participants who experienced apparitions scored significantly higher than those who did not on measures of absorption, fantasy-proneness, and cognitive-perceptual schizotypy (Parra, 2006). Participants who performed successfully on a psi task scored significantly higher on the Magical Ideation Scale than nonsuccessful participants (Parker, Grams, & Pettersson, 1998). Participants with high scores on the Survey of Belief in Extraordinary Phenomena obtained significantly higher scores than paranormal nonbelievers on the MMPI Schizophrenia and Hypomania scales (Windholz & Diamant, 1974).
The association between paranormal beliefs and experiences on the one hand and schizotypy on the other is often interpreted in terms of psychopathology, based on the assumption that schizotypy represents a subclinical form of schizophrenia spectrum psychopathology (e.g., Chapman, Chapman, Raulin, & Edell, 1978; Chapman, Edell, & Chapman, 1980). Factor analyses of schizotypy measures have consistently yielded three factors paralleling the factor structure of schizophrenic symptomatology: (a) reality distortion or aberrant perceptions and beliefs, also referred to as the cognitive-perceptual dimension, (b) cognitive disorganization, including odd behavior and odd speech, and (c) negative symptoms, including interpersonal deficits, social isolation, affective flattening, and anhedonia (e.g., Raine et al., 1994). McCreery and Claridge (2002) found four factors, with the negative symptoms factor described in other studies splitting into introvertive anhedonia and asocial schizotypy factors. Participants who reported at least one out-of-body experience scored significantly higher than non-OBErs on the aberrant perceptions and beliefs factor, but the groups did not differ significantly on the disorganization, introvertive anhedonia, and asocial schizotypy factors. McCreery and Claridge (1995, 1996) reported that OBE experients scored higher than nonexperients on measures of positive schizotypy (Perceptual Aberration, Luanay-Slade Hallucination Scale, STA, Hypomania) and significantly lower on a measure of negative schizotypy (the Physical Anhedonia Scale), suggesting that, "far from being anhedonic, they were particularly enjoying life." It is possible that among "healthy schizotypes" unusual ideas may reflect creativity and unconventional thinking associated with high Openness to Experience (e.g., Holt, Simmonds-Moore, & Moore, 2008). There are numerous studies reporting an association between schizotypy and creativity (e.g., Nettle, 2006; Rawlings & Locarnini, 2008; review by Brod, 1997). In contrast, among participants with schizotypal personality disorder, the same sorts of unusual beliefs may be the result of cognitive rigidity (difficulty shifting mental set) and poor reality contact (quasi-psychotic delusions and perceptual aberrations). McCreery and Claridge (1995, 1996) interpreted their findings as supporting the notion of "healthy schizotypes" who are functional despite, or even in part because of, their anomalous perceptual and other experiences. This interpretation is consistent with the fully dimensional model of schizotypy proposed by Claridge (1997), which posits that schizotypy is a continuously distributed trait, associated with normal functioning for most of its extent, and playing a causal role in the etiology of psychosis only at the upper extreme. Thus, out-of-body experiences and other paranormal experiences are not necessarily pathological, and associations with schizotypy do not necessarily imply psychopathology.
Both schizotypy and paranormal beliefs are multidimensional. It is possible that the significant relationship between schizotypy and paranormal beliefs involves only particular dimensions of schizotypy or specific factors of paranormal belief. Factor analytic studies of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire using the nine subscales have consistently yielded a three-factor solution (Badcock & Dragovic, 2006; Chen, Hsiao & Lin, 1997; Fossati, Raine, Carretta, Leonardi, & Maffei, 2003; Gruzelier, 1994, 1995, 1996; Gruzelier, Burgess, Stygall, Irving, & Raine, 1995; Raine et al., 1994; Reynolds, Raine, Mellingen, Venables, & Mednick, 2000; Rossi & Daneluzzo, 2002; Vollema & Hoijtink, 2000): Reality Distortion (Ideas of Reference + Magical Thinking + Unusual Perceptual Experiences + Suspiciousness), Interpersonal Deficit (Constricted Affect + No Close Friends + Social Anxiety + Suspiciousness), and Disorganization (Odd Behavior + Odd Speech). Item-level factor analysis of the SPQ yielded five factors of schizotypy: Reality Distortion, Paranoia, Disorganization, Interpersonal Deficit, and Social Anxiety (Chmielewski & Watson, 2008). Similarly, factor analytic studies of paranormal beliefs have yielded a fivefactor solution (Lawrence & De Cicco, 1997; Lawrence, Roe, & Williams, 1997) consisting of New Age Philosophy, Traditional Religious Beliefs, Extraordinary Lifeforms, Psi-related Phenomena, and Superstition.
Previous studies have suggested that the relationship between schizotypy and paranormal beliefs involves particular facets of schizotypy and paranormal belief. Using canonical correlation, Irwin and Green (1998) found that beliefs in spiritualism and precognition were significantly associated with the cognitive-perceptual dimension of schizotypy (measured by the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-(SPQ) and female gender, whereas belief in extraordinary lifeforms and witchcraft was associated with the disorganization dimension of schizotypy in males, who were also likely to disavow beliefs in traditional religious beliefs and precognition. Topdown purification of items in Tobacyk's Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale (Tobacyk, 1998) in order to remove items with differential item functioning related to participants' age and gender yielded two clusters of items: New Age Philosophy, consisting of beliefs in psi, spiritualism, astrology, and reincarnation items, and Traditional Paranormal Belief, consisting of items referring to traditional religious beliefs, witchcraft, extraordinary lifeforms, and superstitions (Lange, Irwin, & Houran, 2000). Houran, Irwin, and Lange (2001) found that the New Age Philosophy factor was significantly correlated with the Dissociative Experiences Scale and the Cognitive-Perceptual and Disorganized subscales of the SPQ-Brief, whereas the Traditional Paranormal Beliefs factor was significantly correlated only with the Cognitive-Perceptual subscale of the SPQ-B. These findings suggest that different facets of paranormal belief are differentially associated with various dimensions of schizotypy.
The initial sample consisted of 668 undergraduates enrolled in undergradutate psychology courses. There were 513 females and 152 males (3 participants failed to answer this item) recruited through the undergraduate psychology participant pool via announcements on a bulletin board and a website for psychology experiments. All participants were offered extra credit in their psychology courses as an incentive to participation. The lengthy questionnaire included 14 infrequency items, in order to detect random responding or failure to read items. Eleven participants answered more than three of these items in the unusual or infrequent direction, and their data was excluded from the analyses. An additional 2 participants were excluded due to excessive missing data, leaving a total sample of 655 participants (507 females, 148 males). The questionnaire included multiple-choice items concerning ethnic group membership. Based on responses to these items, participants were classified into seven ethnic groups. There were 410 Euro-American Whites (98 males, 312 females), 63 African-Americans (11 males, 52 females), 67 Asian-Americans (20 males, 47 females), 15 Middle Eastern (e.g., Syrians, Jordanians, etc.; 4 males, 11 females), 22 Indo-Aryan (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan; 2 males, 20 females), 28 Hispanics (3 males, 25 females), and 50 "Other-Mixed" participants (10 males, 40 females). The ages of the participants ranged from 17 to 58 years, with a mean of 20.4 [+ or -] 2.68 years. The study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Maryland.
Volunteers received instructions, informed consent forms, and a questionnaire packet. They were allowed to take these with them and return them at a later date. There was a 100% return rate.
Paranormal beliefs. Paranormal beliefs were assessed using Tobacyk's Paranormal Belief Scale (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983), a 25-item scale with a five-choice Likert scale response format ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree (scored 0 to 4). The TPBS consists of four-item subscales assessing traditional religious beliefs, psi (telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis), witchcraft, and spiritualism, and three-item subscales assessing beliefs in superstitions, extraordinary lifeforms, and precognition. Scores on the seven subscales are summed to provide a total paranormal beliefs score ranging from 0 to 100. In the present sample, the total scale had quite high internal reliability (.91).
Schizotypy. Four measures of schizotypy were used: the Magical Ideation (MI; Eckblad & Chapman, 1983), Perceptual Aberration (PA; Chapman, Chapman, & Raulin, 1978), the STA (Claridge & Broks, 1984), and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ; Raine, 1991). The SPQ is a widely used measure of schizotypy that allows the measurement of multiple dimensions or facets of schizotypy. The other three scales were included as additional measures of the reality distortion or cognitiveperceptual dimension of schizotypy, which was expected to have the strongest relationship to paranormal beliefs. Rather than the standard truefalse response format, for the SPQ a five-response Likert scale was used, which has been shown to have a very high correlation with the standard version (r = .99), good validity, and better internal reliability than the standard version for the total scale and particularly for the nine subscales (Wuthrich & Bates, 2005). The Likert version identified all but one of the same individuals as high scorers as the standard version, plus a few more, suggesting that a small portion of people may be more willing to disclose schizotypal symptoms using a Likert format than a forced-choice format. These measures have been shown to have good internal consistency, testretest reliability, and construct validity (see articles cited above). These four schizotypy scales were all significantly intercorrelated in this sample, with an average correlation of r = 0.50.
Tobacyk Paranormal Belief Scale. The 25 items of the TPBS were subjected to an item-level principal components analysis with Varimax rotation. There were five factors with eigenvalues greater than one, cumulatively accounting for 63.43% of the total variance. Examination of the scree plot suggested a discontinuity after the fifth factor, so the first five factors were retained (Table 1). The first factor, accounting for 35.40% of the variance, had moderate to high loadings for 12 items referring to a variety of paranormal phenomena, and seems to represent a general paranormal beliefs factor, similar to the "New Age Philosophy" factor described previously (Houran et al., 2001). The second factor, accounting for an additional 9.80% of the variance, had high loadings for belief in the soul; the devil; heaven and hell; and God, and clearly represents Traditional Religious Beliefs. The third factor, accounting for 7.20% of the variance, had high loadings for belief in the yeti, Loch Ness monster, and Big Foot, and represents an Extraordinary Lifeforms or cryotrozoologic factor. This factor also had moderate loadings for black magic, witches, and voodoo death. The fourth factor, accounting for 6.03% of the variance, had high loadings for psychokinesis, voodoo, and predicting the future, and seems to represent a belief in psi-related phenomena. The fifth factor, accounting for 4.98% of the variance, had high loadings for black cats, breaking mirrors, and bad luck, and represents a Superstition factor. Factor scores were generated for each of the five paranormal belief factors.
Item-level factor analysis of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. A principal components analysis of the 74 items of the SPQ yielded 14 factors with eigenvalues greater than one, cumulatively accounting for 70.55% of the variance. Examination of the scree plot suggested that the slope of the curve flattened out markedly after five factors, which cumulatively accounted for 41.94% of the variance. A PCA was conducted with oblique (OBLIMIN) rotation, restricting the number of factor to five (Table 2). These five factors were clearly interpretable. The first factor, accounting for 21.78% of the variance, had high loadings for items referring to social anxiety, most derived from the Social Anxiety subscale of the SPQ, with several items from the Constricted Affect and No Close Friends subscales. The second factor, accounting for an additional 8.14% of the variance, consisted of items referring to superstitious beliefs and perceptual aberrations, derived from the Magical Thinking and Unusual Perceptual Experiences subscales of the SPQ. This factor corresponds to the Cognitive-Perceptual or Reality Distortion dimensions of the SPQ described by previous factor analyses. The third factor, accounting for an additional 4.92% of the variance, consisted of items referring to eccentricity, oddness, and difficulty communicating, derived from the Odd Speech and Odd Behavior subscales of the SPQ and corresponding to the Disorganization dimension of the SPQ described by previous factor analyses. The fourth factor, accounting for an additional 4.22% of the variance, consisted of items referring to social isolation and lack of close interpersonal relationships, derived from the No Close Friends and Constricted Affect subscales of the SPQ. The fifth factor, accounting for an additional 2.90% of the variance, had high loadings for items referring to paranoia and ideas of reference, derived from the Suspiciousness and Ideas of Reference subscales of the SPQ.
The total TPBS score, all five TPBS scores, the STA, Magical Ideation, total SPQ, and all five SPQ factor scores had skewness and kurtosis values less than 1.0, indicating that the distributions for these measures did not differ markedly from normality. Only the Perceptual Aberration scale had higher skewness (1.30) and kurtosis (2.32). Perceptual Aberration scores were transformed by rank ordering (using means for ties), which reduced the skewness of the distribution to acceptable levels (0.03).
An analysis of variance (ANOVA) with sex as the grouping factor and total TPBS scores as the dependent variable failed to yield a significant effect of sex. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with sex as the grouping factor and the five TPBS factors as dependent variables did yield a significant multivariate effect of sex, F(5, 648) = 10.75, p < .001, with significant univariate effects of sex on the Traditional Religious Beliefs, F(1, 652) = 4.836, p = .028), Extraordinary Lifeforms, F(1,652) = 17.30, p < .001, and Psi Beliefs factors, F(1,652) = 26.32, p < .001. Males scored higher than females on the Extraordinary Lifeforms factor (males: 0.29 [+ or -] 0.98; females: -0.09 [+ or -] 0.99), whereas females scored higher than males on the Traditional Religious Beliefs (males:-0.16 [+ or -] 1.12; females: 0.05 [+ or -] 0.96) and Psi Beliefs factors (males:-0.36 [+ or -] 0.81; females: 0.11 [+ or -] 1.03).
A MANOVA with sex as the grouping factor and the SPQ, STA, Magical Ideation and Perceptual Aberration Scales as dependent variables yielded a significant multivariate effect of sex, F(1,649) = 7.33, p < .001. There were significant univariate effects of sex on total SPQ scores, F(1, 652) = 9.29, p = .002, and Magical Ideation scores, F(1,652) = 6.20, p = .013. Both effects remained significant after correction for the number of tests performed. Males scored higher than females on the SPQ (males: 117.69 [+ or -] 34.678; females: 107.55 [+ or -] 35.75), while females scored higher than males on the Magical Ideation Scale (males: 6.93 [+ or -] 4.80; females: 8.08 [+ or -] 4.94).
A MANOVA with sex as the grouping factor and the five SPQ factors as dependent variables also yielded a significant multivariate effect of sex, F(1,649) = 7.663, p < .001, with significant univariate effects of sex on the Interpersonal Deficit, F(1,653) = 30.994. p < .001, and Social Anxiety factors, F(1, 653) = 4.43, p = .036. Only the effect for the Interpersonal Deficit factor remained significant after correction for the number of tests performed. Males scored higher than females on the Interpersonal Deficit factor (males: 0.40 [+ or -] 1.62; females: -0.11 [+ or -] 0.95). The pattern and magnitude of correlations between paranormal belief and schizotypy measures were generally quite similar for males and females, so only the results for the total sample are presented below.
Paranormal Beliefs and Schizotypy
In order to explore whether schizotypy is more strongly related to particular facets of paranormal belief, the correlations between the five paranormal factor scores and schizotypy measures were examined (Table 3). The pattern of correlations differed somewhat for each of the factors of paranormal belief, although most of the correlations were positive, indicating an association between higher schizotypy and greater belief in the paranormal. The New Age Philosophy factor was significantly positively correlated with all four schizotypy scales, and the Reality Distortion factor of the SPQ. Traditional Religious Beliefs were significantly associated with lower Perceptual Aberration, Disorganization, and Interpersonal factors, and positively correlated with the STA scale, the Reality Distortion, Paranoid/Suspiciousness, and Social Anxiety factors of the SPQ. The Extraordinary Lifeforms factor was significantly and positively associated with most of the schizotypy measures (all four schizotypy scales, three of five SPQ factors), and was the only paranormal belief factor significantly correlated with the interpersonal dimension of schizotypy. The Psi Beliefs factor was significantly positively correlated with all four schizotypy scales, and the Reality Distortion factor of the SPQ. The Superstition factor was significantly positively correlated with the total SPQ and Magical Ideation scales, and the Paranoid/Suspiciousness and Reality Distortion factors of the SPQ. All five factors of paranormal belief were significantly positively correlated with the STA and the SPQ Reality Distortion factor. The Reality Distortion factor of schizotypy was significantly positively correlated with all five factors of paranormal belief. The Paranoid/Suspiciousness factor of schizotypy was significantly positively correlated with the Traditional Religious Beliefs and Superstition factors of the TPBS. The Interpersonal and Disorganization factors of schizotypy were both positively correlated with the Extraordinary Lifeforms factor and negatively correlated with the Traditional Religious Beliefs factor. The Social Anxiety factor of schizotypy was significantly positively correlated with the Traditional Religious Beliefs factor.
Significant relationships were found among overall measures of paranormal belief and schizotypy. Total scores on the TPBS were significantly related to scores on all four schizotypy scales. Previous studies have reported findings consistent with relationship between paranormal beliefs and schizotypy (e.g., Chequers, Joseph, & Diduca., 1997; Gallagher, Kumar, & Pekala., 1994; Genovese, 2005; Goulding, 2004, 2005; Hergovich, Willanger, & Arendsay, 2005; Houran, Irwin, & Lange, 2001; Irwin & Green, 1998; Lange, Irwin, & Houran, 2000; Thalbourne, 1994; Windholz & Diamant, 1974; Wolfradt, Oubaid, Straube, Bischoff, & Mischo, 1999; Wolfradt & Watzke, 1999). The significant correlation between the total TPBS score and the Magical Ideation Scale replicates several previous findings (Hergovich, Schott, & Arendsay, 2008; Peltzer, 2003; Thalbourne, 1998, 1999; Thalbourne & Delin, 1994, 1999; Thalbourne, Dunbar, & Delin, 1995; Thalbourne & French, 1995; Thalbourne, Bartemucci, Dein, Fox, & Nofi, 1997; Tobacyk & Wilkinson, 1990), and is not surprising, given that almost half of the items of the Magical Ideation Scale refer to paranormal beliefs or experiences (e.g., precognition, telepathy, superstitions). Magical Ideation, with and without items referring to paranormal phenomena, was significantly correlated with global paranormal belief and with all of the subscales of the Tobacyk Paranormal Belief Scale (Williams, 1995; Williams & Irwin, 1991). The significant associations between paranormal beliefs and the other three schizotypy scales are unlikely to be due solely to overlapping items, as the STA contains only 4 items (out of 33) referring to paranormal beliefs, the SPQ contains 7 such items (all within the Magical Thinking subscale and the Reality Distortion factor), and the Perceptual Aberration Scale contains no such items.
Although the significant association of paranormal beliefs and schizotypy replicates numerous previous studies, not all paranormal beliefs were equally related to schizotypy. An item-level analysis of the TPBS yielded five factors of paranormal belief, quite similar to previously reported findings (Lawrence & De Cicco, 1997; Lawrence, Roe, & Williams, 1997). The Extraordinary Lifeforms factor was the most consistently correlated with schizotypy measures of the five TPBS factors, showing significant positive correlations with all four schizotypy scales, and three of five SPQ factors (Interpersonal, Disorganization, and Reality Distortion). The strongest correlation was with total SPQ scores. Hergovich, Schott, and Arendsay (2008) found a stronger relationship between schizotypy and a Paranormal Beliefs latent factor (similar to New Age Philosophy) than between schizotypy and a Superstition latent factor, which included traditional religious beliefs and beliefs in extraordinary lifeforms. The findings of the present study suggest the opposite: stronger relationships between schizotypy and beliefs in extraordinary lifeforms and traditional religious beliefs than between schizotypy and New Age Philosophy or general paranormal belief.
In the present study, participants with high scores for Traditional Religious Beliefs tended to have higher scores on measures of the reality distortion dimension of schizotypy. Most studies have found negative relationships between paranormal beliefs and traditional Christian beliefs, with small to moderate effect sizes (Beck & Miller, 2001; Duncan, Donnelly, & Nicholson, 1992; Ellis, 1988; Emmons & Sobal, 1981; Persinger & Makarec, 1990; Skirda & Persinger, 1993; Tobacyk & Milford, 1983; Tobacyk & Wilkinson, 1990). A few studies have found positive relationships between traditional Christian beliefs and beliefs in the paranormal (Buhrmann & Zaugg, 1983; Goode, 2000; Haraldsson, 1981; Irwin, 1985; Rudski, 2003; Schumaker, 1987; Thalbourne, 1995, 2003a; Williams, Francis & Robbins, 2006). The findings of the present study are consistent with those of the latter set of studies reporting positive associations of traditional religious beliefs and paranormal beliefs, which are associated with the reality distortion dimension of schizotypy. Hergovich and Arendsay (2005) reported that the association of poorer reasoning with paranormal belief was restricted to traditional religious belief and superstition, and was not seen for the New Age Philosophy component of paranormal belief. The Disorganized dimension of schizotypy is associated with impairments in reasoning. Paranormal beliefs assessed by Tobacyk's Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale were significantly associated with poorer performance on the Wiener Matrizen Test, an adapted version of the Raven progressive matrices, a measure of visuospatial reasoning ability (Hergovich & Arendsay, 2005). The association of poorer reasoning with paranormal belief was restricted to traditional religious belief and superstition, and was not seen for the New Age Philosophy component of paranormal belief. Paranormal beliefs were not significantly related to several measures of critical thinking. In contrast, in the present study, traditional religious belief was inversely correlated with the Disorganization and Interpersonal factors, but positively correlated with the other three factors of schizotypy.
The New Age Philosophy factor showed significant positive correlations with all four schizotypy scales, and the Reality Distortion factor of the SPQ. Of the five paranormal belief factors, the New Age Philosophy factor had the strongest correlation with the SPQ Reality Distortion factor. These findings support a fully dimensional model of schizotypy with general belief in the paranormal considered as nonpathological manifestations of "healthy schizotypy," assuming that the Reality Distortion factor is the least "pathological" of the schizotypy factors. Hergovich and Arendsay (2005) found low disorganization scores associated with New Age Philosophy, a broad factor reflecting general paranormal beliefs. In the present study the correlation was low and nonsignificant. New Age beliefs and practices comprise a loose form of religiosity including yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, astrology, Tarot, channeling, energy healing, and so forth, which have been found to be significantly associated with higher scores on the Magical Ideation and STA schizotypy scales (Farias, Claridge, & Lalljee, 2005). Structural equation modeling supported a model separating paranormal beliefs into two groups or latent factors: (1) Paranormal Beliefs (corresponding to the New Age Philosophy factor of Houran et al., 2001), consisting of RPBS subscales measuring beliefs in precognition, psi, spiritualism, and witchcraft; and (2) Superstition (corresponding to the Traditional Paranormal Belief factor of Houran et al., 2001), consisting of RPBS subscales measuring beliefs in traditional religiosity, extraordinary lifeforms, and superstition, as well as items from the Magical Ideation Scale referring to superstition (Hergovich, Scott, & Arendsay, 2008). A latent factor of schizotypy consisting of the three subscales of the SPQ-B (with the Cognitive-Perceptual dimension showing the strongest association) and Magical Ideation Scale items referring to ideas of reference was significantly related to both latent factors of Paranormal Belief and Superstition, but with a much stronger relationship to the Paranormal Belief latent factor, which mediated much of the effect of schizotypy on superstition. The findings of the present study contrast with those of Hergovich, Schott, and Arendsay (2008) in showing stronger relationships between schizotypy and superstition (including traditional religious belief and belief in extraordinary lifeforms) than between schizotypy and New Age Philosophy or general paranormal belief.
Conversely, not all aspects of schizotypy were significantly related to paranormal beliefs, which were very strongly related to reality distortion, less strongly related to the paranoid/suspiciousness dimension, and weakly or inconsistently related to the disorganization, interpersonal deficit, and social anxiety dimensions of schizotypy. In the present study, the Reality Distortion factor of the SPQ was significantly correlated with all five paranormal belief factors, whereas none of the other schizotypy factors showed more than two significant correlations with the paranormal belief factors, and for the Interpersonal and Disorganization factors, one correlation was negative and the other positive. In a large Australian sample of adolescents, scores on the Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale (RPBS) were significantly correlated with total scores on the SPQ-Brief, as well as scores on the Cognitive-Perceptual, Interpersonal, and Disorganized subscales of the SPQ-B, and the Magical Ideation Scale (Hergovich, et al., 2008). The SPQ-B Cognitive-Perceptual dimension had a much stronger association with paranormal beliefs than the Interpersonal or Disorganized dimensions (Hergovich, et al., 2008). Like Hergovich et al. (2008), in the present study paranormal beliefs were most strongly related to the reality distortion (cognitive-perceptual) dimension of schizotypy. McCreery and Claridge (2002) found that out-of-body experients had higher scores than nonexperients on the aberrant perceptions and beliefs factor of the Combined Schizotypal Traits Questionnaire, but did not differ significantly on the introvertive anhedonia, asocial schizotypy, or cognitive disorganization factors. Genovese (2005) found that paranormal belief assessed by an eight-item scale was significantly correlated with scores on the Cognitive-Perceptual (i.e., Reality Distortion) and Disorganized dimensions of the SPQ-Brief in a sample of teachers and teacher trainees.
Multivariate analyses of variance with schizotypy scales or schizotypy factors as dependent variables and sex and a dichotomy based on total TPBS scores (median split) or TPBS clusters as grouping factors yielded results that essentially paralleled the correlational findings. Similarly, multivariate analysis with sex and schizotypy scale dichotomies and TPBS factors as dependent variables also yielded results that paralleled the correlational findings. While there were significant main effects of gender, few of the effects of the interaction of sex and paranormal belief or schizotypy were significant, suggesting that the associations between paranormal belief and schizotypy were similar for males and females. There was no significant difference between males and females for total TPBS scores in the present study. This finding contrasts with some previous studies, which have found significant sex differences in paranormal belief and experience. Women are more likely than men to report having had contact with the dead (Greeley, 1987; Kalish & Reynolds, 1973), and more women than men believe in ghosts (e.g., Rudski, 2003; Sharps, Matthews, & Asten, 2006). Others have reported that women report more paranormal beliefs than men (e.g., Goritz & Schumacher, 2000; Voracek, 2009). The disadvantaged status of women and those with lower incomes may contribute to their greater tendency to report paranormal experiences (Fox, 1992). However, in the present study males scored higher than females on the Extraordinary Lifeforms factor, while females scored significantly higher than males on the Traditional Religious Beliefs and Psi Beliefs factors. Females scored higher than males on the Magical Ideation Scale, while males scored significantly higher than females on the total SPQ and the SPQ Interpersonal Deficit factor. These findings are consistent with previous reports of higher scores in females than males on the Magical Ideation Scale (e.g., Lenzenweger & Moldin, 1990; Lyons, Toomey, Faraone, & Tsuang, 1994; Mohr & Leonards, 2005; Muntaner, Garcia-Sevilla, Fernandez, & Torrubia, 1988), and higher scores in males than females on the Interpersonal Deficit dimension and subscales of the SPQ (Badcock & Dragovic, 2006; Fossati et al., 2003; Gruzelier, 1994; Mata, Mataix-Cols, & Peralta, 2005; Miller & Burns, 1995; Raine, 1992). These studies are part of a larger literature on sex differences in schizotypy which suggests that males score higher on measures of the negative symptom dimension whereas females score higher on measures of the positive symptom (reality distortion) dimension of schizotypy.
The present study is limited by the use of an undergraduate sample, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. It is possible that the findings are influenced by selection factors involved in the use of undergraduate participants, such as restricted age range, higher academic achievement and intelligence, substance use, and so forth. Further research in this area should make use of general community samples. A large number of analyses were conducted without experiment-wide correction for the number of tests. Bonferroni's correction applied on a study-wide basis would be inappropriately restrictive. Of the 54 correlations presented in Table 3, 33 were significant at conventional levels (p < .05), whereas only 2 or 3 correlations significant at this level would be expected by chance. At most 1 correlation significant at the p < .001 level would be expected by chance, whereas there were 19 correlations significant at this level in the current study. These 19 correlations would survive Bonferroni's correction.
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Table 1 Factor Loadings for TPBS Items I II III IV Levitation .59 Black magic .56 .41 Astral .57 projection Psychokinesis .58 .44 Witches .45 .43 Spirit travel .56 Precognition .62 Reincarnation .62 Telepathy .70 Voodoo death .55 .42 Communicate .73 w/dead Precognitive .38 .37 dreams II III IV V Soul exists .73 Devil .83 God .84 Heaven & hell .79 Yeti .74 Loch Ness .76 monster Big foot .72 Psychokinesis (2) .77 Voodoo .76 Predicting .69 future Black cats .78 Break mirror .85 bad luck Unlucky .70 person Factors: I: New Age Philosophy, II: Traditional Religious Beliefs, III: Extraordinary Lifeforms, IV: Psi Beliefs, V: Superstitious Beliefs Table 2a Five-Factor Solution for SPQ I II III 2. avoid people when anxious .61 11. nervous in polite conversation .64 15. keep to myself .49 17. poor at expressing feelings .30 20. nervous walking .36 24. quiet with people .68 29. anxious first meeting .69 38. nervous w unfamiliar people .80 46. uncomfortable social situation .74 51. avoid eye contact .36 54. anxious giving speech .63 57. keep in the background .69 68. not expressive & lively .36 69. hard to communicate .35 71. uneasy talking to people .75 1. TV has special meanings .26 3. experience w the supernatural .70 4. mistaken shadow & noises .34 12. telepathy .75 13. sensed person or force .64 21. can tell what you're thinking .33 22. face in the mirror changes .39 28. special signs .39 30. clairvoyance .74 31. voices speaking thoughts .30 39. others feel my feelings .50 40. seen things invisible .57 47. astrology, UFOs, ESP .69 48. objects unusually large or small .29 55. telepathy .74 64. loud thoughts .36 5. eccentric .79 7. hard to understand .56 14. unusual mannerisms .73 16. jump topics .54 23. a little strange .81 25. forget what I'm saying .39 Table 2b III IV V 32. very bizarre person .76 34. ramble .58 42. vague & elusive .34 50. use words in unusual ways .58 58. wander off topic .52 67. odd & unusual person .80 70. eccentric habits .73 72. conversation confusing .52 74. odd appearance .38 6. little interest in people .45 8. aloof & distant .34 26. rarely laugh & smile .62 33. hard to be close .52 35. non-verbal communication poor .47 41. close to no one .59 43. poor at courtesies .38 49. writing friends too much trouble .30 52. not self-disclosing .38 62. close friends unimportant .58 66. unable to get close .57 73. keep feelings to self .40 9. being talked about .65 10. people notice me .46 18. people have it in for you .54 19. hints with double meanings .49 27. friends not trustworthy .55 36. on guard with friends .44 37. special meaning in ads .43 44. hidden threats .61 45. people take notice of me .49 53. people talking about you .50 56. strong sense of smell .33 59. others have it in for me .54 60. people watching you .54 61. distant sounds distract .26 63. talking about you .65 65. keep an eye out .50 Factors: 1: Social Anxiety, II: Reality Distortion, III: Disorganization; IV: Interpersonal Deficit, V: Paranoid Table 3 Correlations Between T PBS Factor Scores and Schizotypy Measures Total TPBS New Age Traditional Philosophy Religion Schizotypy scales Schizotypal Personality .297 *** .217 *** .055 question. STA .318 *** .256 *** .117 ** Magical Ideation .389 *** .086 * .050 Perceptual Aberration .146 *** -.125 *** -.067 (ranks) SPQ factors Interpersonal Deficit -.001 -.016 -.090 * Disorganization -.001 .038 -.149 *** Paranoid/Suspicious .121 ** -.004 .185 *** Reality Distortion .627 *** .543 *** .099 * Social Anxiety -.015 -.006 .104 ** Extraordinary Psi Beliefs Superstitions Lifeforms Schizotypy scales Schizotypal Personality .207 *** .091 * .081 question. STA .111 ** .115 ** .072 Magical Ideation .112 ** .526 *** .166 *** Perceptual Aberration .115 ** .462 *** .060 (ranks) SPQ factors Interpersonal Deficit .170 *** -.011 -.043 Disorganization .101 ** .007 .002 Paranoid/Suspicious .037 -.004 .086 * Reality Distortion .178 *** .295 *** .198 *** Social Anxiety -.032 -.057 -.041 *** p <.001. ** p <.01. * p <.001.
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