The Psychology of Paranormal Belief: A Researcher's Handbook
Harvey J. Irwin (Author)
DescriptionThis book, written by an internationally renowned researcher in the field, provides a thorough and systematic review of empirical investigations into the bases of belief in paranormal phenomena. Following a discussion of the concept of paranormality, four main theoretical approaches to the nature of paranormal belief are examined. Some researchers have suggested that such beliefs are most prevalent among people on the margins of society. Another view is that paranormal belief is simply one facet of a broader worldview, a view that is characterised by a highly subjective and esoteric outlook on humanity, life, and the world at large. Other commentators have sought to depict the paranormal believer as essentially illogical, irrational, credulous, uncritical, and foolish. In addition, a few writers propose that paranormal beliefs are best understood as serving significant psychodynamic needs. The empirical foundations and shortcomings of each of these approaches are rigorously documented in turn. By way of a conclusion, the underlying issue of definition is revisited and a new, more comprehensive theory is advanced to model the psychological development of scientifically unsubstantiated beliefs. Opening with a foreword from the highly respected researchers Dr Caroline Watt and Professor Richard Wiseman, this book will be of particular interest to professional researchers and serious students of the subject, as well as to clinical psychologists and counsellors.
University of Hertfordshire Press
6 July 2009
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