Rational Thinking and Belief in Psychic Abilities: It Depends on Level of Involvement

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Stone, Anna (2016)

Previous research has shown that lay believers in psychic abilities are more\ud prone to intuitive thinking, less inclined to rational thinking, and have an external locus of\ud control, compared to non-believers. Psychic practitioners, however, may have different\ud characteristics. Psychic practitioners (N=31; mean age = 42.7 years, s.d.=13.1), lay believers\ud (N=33; mean age = 33.0 years, s.d.=10.3), and non-believers (N=31; mean age = 34.4 years,\ud s.d.=15.4) completed questionnaires measuring thinking styles, locus of control, and psychic\ud belief. Comparisons of lay believers with non-believers confirmed previous observations;\ud believers had a higher propensity for intuitive thinking, lower propensity for rational thinking,\ud and more external locus of control. In contrast, practitioners were equivalent to non-believers\ud in rational thinking and had the highest internal locus of control. This highlights the\ud importance of considering level of involvement with psychic practice in understanding the\ud thinking styles of believers. Results suggested that practitioners may have rationalised their\ud beliefs and constructed a coherent model of psychic phenomena that satisfies a propensity for\ud rational thinking within a community of belief.
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