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Investigating students' beliefs in the paranormal

by Lewis, Chad M.

Abstract (Summary)
___________________Lewis _________ Chad____ _________M.___________ (Last Name) (First) (Initial) _______Investigating Students’ Beliefs in the Paranormal_________________________ (Title) Applied Psychology Dr. Thomas E. Franklin May 2002 150_____ (Graduate Major) (Research Advisor) (Month/ Year) (No. of Pages) American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual: Fifth Edition________ (Name of Style Manual Used in This Study) This study was designed to investigate students’ beliefs in the paranormal, and to investigate the relationship between personal experience with a phenomenon, age , gender, interest in paranormal phenomena, spirituality and students’ beliefs. For this study paranormal phenomena were defined as events that violate the boundaries of current scientific belief. This study focused on: aliens, angels, Bigfoot, cattle mutilations, crop circles, extrasensory perception(ESP), ghosts, Loch Ness Monster, near-death experience(NDE), out of body experiences(OBE), and Unidentified flying objects(UFOs). For this study an original questionnaire was developed, which consisted of 127 items spanned over seven pages. The questionnaire was mailed during April of 2002 to 500 systematically sampled students attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A total of 101 questionnaires were completed and returned for a response rate of 22 percent. Paranormal Beliefs 3 Including all respondents, when asked if they have had a personal experience with various phenomena, 51.5% have or may have had an experience with angels, 47.5% with ESP, 42.6% with ghosts. Respondents that had an experience with angels , ESP, ghosts, UFOs were significantly more likely to believe they were real or actual, p < .05, than those who did not have a personal experience with the phenomenon. Including all respondents 65% knew someone that stated they had a personal ghost experience, 48.5 % with an angel experience, 36.6% with an ESP experience, and 24.8 % with a NDE. Those who have had a personal experience with NDE, ESP, Ghosts, UFOs, and Angels were more likely to know someone with an experience with the phenomenon, than those with no personal experience with the phenomenon(p < .05). Males were significantly more likely to experience UFOs and NDEs than females(p < .05). Students generally believed that angels, crop circles, ESP, ghosts, out of body experiences, and near death experiences were actual or real, capable of being experienced. Males were significantly more likely to believe that aliens and Bigfoot are actual or real than females(p < .05). Females were significantly more likely to believe that angels, crop circles, and NDEs are actual or real than males(p < .05). Respondents’ interest level, spirituality, gender, and personal experience were related to many of the variables, yet these relationships fluctuated from phenomena to phenomena. Paranormal Beliefs 4
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Centro Universitário do Planalto de Araxá

School Location:Brazil

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:parapsychology

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Date of Publication:

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