Social Rejection Because of Paranormal Belief?

Is it hard for a person to talk about religious beliefs or paranormal phenomena? Has society made it harder to claim paranormal phenomena because it has made it considered to be “unacceptable”?

In 1999, R. Thomas Dudley conducted a study about social acceptability of religious and paranormal beliefs. He explained that society, in general, is what makes something acceptable or unacceptable. A personal belief may be acceptable to the person, yet socially, it may be looked down at as being unacceptable. This is how society judges religious beliefs as well as paranormal beliefs.

The study that Dudley conducted asked college students to consider their own religious and paranormal beliefs and answer questions that were measured by using Tobacyk’s Paranormal Belief scale. The goal was to determine if religious beliefs were more socially acceptable than paranormal beliefs. They were asked to answer the questions without their own beliefs but, what they “thought” society believed to determine if society did have an effect on what was acceptable and what was not.

The results showed that it was more socially acceptable to talk and claim religious beliefs than it was paranormal beliefs. This maybe an explanation as to why some people will be more comfortable to talk about religion rather than paranormal phenomena. The stigma society has placed about paranormal phenomena maybe a reason why some people will not accept the possibility of this type of activity.


Submitted by: Bridget Cotton


Dudley, T. R., (1999) Social Acceptability of Paranormal and Religious Belief, Psychological Reports, 85, 255-256


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