Belief in extraordinary psychological feats: a discourse analysis
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This study aimed to investigate how belief in extraordinary psychological feats is warranted and maintained, and how the lack of an explanation is justified. Discourse analysis was used to examine online newspaper articles on Derren Brown to determine how journalists express their views on the nature of Brown’s feats and overcome the problem of explaining the unexplained. Upon analysis it was found that 4 themes were common among articles: framing the feats as more than magic, non-paranormal, expressions of belief and justifying the lack of explanation. Various discursive methods were employed in the articles in order to express views whilst minimising the accountability of the journalist to the claims. These methods are examined to determine their rhetorical function and the implications of their findings in relation to psychology and the understanding of belief are discussed.