What is Paranormal Belief and What Predicts It?

dsc_0121Paranormal belief has been measured in many ways. One of the downsides of this process is that psychologists and parapsychologists have not yet discovered a clean way to separate different types of supernatural beliefs. Lindeman and Aarnio attempt to provide some direction to how to statistically divide paranormal belief into four components: Belief in spiritual entities, magic, and psychic powers, Belief in omens and rituals to bring luck, belief in astrology fung-shui, and the moon, and belief in magical powers of food and health. The remaining question is how do cognitive and personality factors relate to these groupings of paranormal belief?

pocket-watch-1279766Lindeman and Aarnio looked at thinking styles, parent and peer influence, need for control and other background factors to see if any of these personality tendencies related or predicted their breakdown of paranormal belief. The results of their study do show that all of the above relate to their four factors, but very weakly (< 5% influence on paranormal belief factors in the majority of cases).

niccolo-macchiavelli-165412_960_720The take-home message from this research is that various types of paranormal belief are more related to each other than they are to personality and background factors in this study. Thus, you the reader are left with the knowledge that belief in one type of paranormal belief tends to predict belief in other types of paranormal phenomena, but we are all still left in the dark as to why we believe in things that go bump in the night.





Submitted by: Brian Laythe


Lindeman, M., & Aarnio, K. (2006). Paranormal beliefs: Their dimensionality and correlates. European Journal of Personality, 20, 585-602.

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