Characteristics of Believers in the Paranormal [para-ac05]

AIPR Advanced Certificate in Parapsychology—Unit Outline

Characteristics of Believers in the Paranormal [para-ac05]


  • studies of correlates of belief in the paranormal
  • the psychology of ‘sheep’ (believers) and ‘goats’ (disbelievers)

Essay Topic

What are the psychological characteristics of sheep and/or goats?

NOTE: Essay must be no longer than 3000 words and formatted in APA-style. (APA stands for American Psychological Association. All the references given below are in APA-style. Please follow that style in your essays.)

For guidance on how to write an essay, see: Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

Required Reading

Haraldsson, E. (1981). Some determinants of belief in psychical phenomena [PDF]. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 75, 297-309.

Irwin, H. J. (1993). Belief in the paranormal: A review of the empirical literature [PDF]. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 87, 1-39.

Thalbourne, M. A., & Delin, P. S. (1994). A common thread underlying belief in the paranormal, creative personality, mystical experience and psychopathology. Journal of Parapsychology, 58, 3-38. [For a copy, contact Dr. Lance Storm]

Optional Reading

Irwin, H. J. (2004). Reality testing and the formation of paranormal beliefs: A constructive replication [PDF]. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 68, 143-152.

Thalbourne, M. A. (1984). Some correlates of belief in psychical phenomena: A partial replication of the Haraldsson findings [PDF]. Parapsychology Review, 15(2), 13-15.

Thalbourne, M. A. (1995). Psychological characteristics of believers in the paranormal: A replicative study [Electronic version]. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 89, 153-164.

Thalbourne, M. A. (2005). Research note: Creative personality and belief in the paranormal [PDF]. European Journal of Parapsychology, 20, 79-84.

Thalbourne, M. A., & Haraldsson, E. (1980). Personality characteristics of sheep and goats [PDF]. Personality and Individual Differences, 1, 180-185.

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