Belief in the Paranormal: Towards an Implicit Measure and a Search for a Causal Relationship with Thinking Styles
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Previous research has established a relationship between thinking styles (intuitive-experiential and analytical-rational) and paranormal belief. It is important to establish a causal relationship to enhance our understanding of the origins of such beliefs. The present study investigates the influence of thinking style manipulation on paranormal belief measures. With a control group, it was possible to investigate previous correlational findings independent of the effect of thinking style manipulation. Additionally, in order to overcome the limitations of self-report, the study attempted to measure implicit paranormal belief with the use of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee & Schwartz, 1998). A manipulation check suggested rational or intuitive thinking was successfully induced but the manipulation had no subsequent effect on paranormal belief. The correlational findings were somewhat replicated and discussed in relation to the characteristics of the sample. The implicit paranormal belief measure was not successful in detecting affiliation with paranormal phenomena which may have been due to design limitations. Research into developing more successful priming procedures is advocated as a first step in investigating a causal relationship from correlational findings.