Mental health aspects of paranormal and psi related experiences

Sammanfattning: This thesis aimed to investigate if paranormal beliefs and experiences represent signs of psychological ill-health or if they are neutral regarding psychological health. A further aim was to validate subjective paranormal experiences. The first part of the thesis compares two models for the construct schizotypy, a quasi-dimensional model and a fully dimensional model in the context of psychological health. The former views paranormal beliefs and experiences as pathological whereas the fully dimensional model is unbiased regarding health. Individuals were grouped according to their scores on a multi-dimensional schizotypy measure, the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences Scale (Mason, Claridge & Jackson, 1995). The schizotypy groups were compared regarding two mental health-related measures, the Sense of Coherence Scale (Antonovsky, 1991) and the Eysenck Personality Inventory (Bederoff-Petersson, Jägtoft &Åström, 1971) Neuroticism sub-scale, and a measure of paranormal beliefs and experiences, the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (Thalbourne & Delin, 1993). The results support the fully dimensional schizotypy model. Noteworthy, a group of people with a high level of paranormal beliefs and experiences also reported a high level of sense of coherence in conjunction with low neuroticism, which signifies psychological health rather than ill-health. The second part of the thesis was designed to validate subjective paranormal experiences in the laboratory, where a Ganzfeld paradigm was used to induce psi. The psi Ganzfeld result was non-significant. Individual differences between successful and unsuccessful participants were investigated to explore the association between psi success and psychological health. The results of this thesis show that the relationships between the subjective reports of health-related sense of coherence, neuroticism, and subjective reports of strong paranormal beliefs and experiences are complex. It seems more likely that strong paranormal beliefs and experiences together with an inability to experience pleasure or cognitive disorganisation are related to perceived ill-health rather than strong paranormal beliefs and experiences on their own. The results support the notion of healthy schizotypy and the conclusion that paranormal beliefs and experiences should be viewed as neutral regarding mental health.

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