Superstitious Belief—Negative and Positive Superstitions and Psychological Functioning

Authors: Neil Dagnall, Andrew Parker and Gary Munley Journal: European Journal of Parapsychology Publication date: 2007 Keywords: paranormal beliefs, superstitiousness, susceptibility, critical reflections, critical review
European Journal of Parapsychology

This study investigated Wiseman and Watt’s (2004) finding that negative and positive superstitious beliefs were underpinned by different psychological mechanisms. 321 participants completed a selfreport measure of neuroticism, the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (R-PBS), negative and positive superstition scales, and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). Median splits were conducted on neuroticism, negative and positive affect. Endorsement of negative and positive superstitions was then compared across each variable. Positive superstitious belief items were endorsed more strongly than negative superstitious belief items across all measures. Main effects were observed for gender (women endorsed superstitious beliefs to a greater extent than men), neuroticism (high neuroticism group endorsed superstitious beliefs to a greater extent than the low neuroticism group) and affect (high negative and positive affect groups endorsed superstitious beliefs to a greater extent than low negative and positive affect groups). Crucially, this study failed to replicate the interactions reported byWiseman andWatt (2004); where differences between groups narrowed for superstitious belief type. Correlations were found between: negative and positive superstitious belief items, the superstition sub-scale of the PBS and each measure of superstitious belief, and neuroticism. This pattern of results provided no support for Wiseman and Watt’s (2004) findings.

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