Mental representations of the supernatural: A cluster analysis of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThe aim of the study was to establish a new typology of belief in the supernatural; categorising people, based on their levels of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief. Examining how the various beliefs are defined was a further objective. The reasons for people having different levels of these beliefs were discussed, highlighting ‘Metaphysical Chauvinism’ as a possible explanation. Previous research that used variousmethods to measure religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief were discussed. Participants (n = 307) completed an online survey consisting of the revised Religious Life Inventory (rRLI), the Intrinsic Spirituality Scale (ISS) and the revised Paranormal Belief Scale (rPBS). Two cluster analyses were performed: one on the three main scales and a secondary analysis on the ISS, the subscales of the rRLI and the rPBS. The results revealed a four cluster solution for each analysis. For the main analysis the clusters were ‘believers’, ‘paranormal believers’, ‘sceptics’ and ‘religious believers’. Metaphysical Chauvinism was supported; however, it was acknowledged that there still appears to be a lack of consensus when defining supernatural beliefs. It is proposed that the cluster analysis approach is more effective than a simple scale when trying establish how a person believes.
CitationSchofield, M. B., Baker, I. S., Staples, P., & Sheffield., D. (2016). Mental representations of the supernatural: A cluster analysis of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief. Personality and Individual Differences, 101, 419–424. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.06.020
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences