- Religion and Philosophy
Paranormal Belief and Creativity: The association between paranormal belief and creativity
A correlation between paranormal belief and creativity?
A personality trait which has been supposed to correlate with paranormal belief is creativity.
Numerous research studies have investigated the association between creative personality and belief in the paranormal such as:
- Murphy (1963)
- Joesting & Joesting (1969),
- Davis, Peterson & Farley (1874),
- Moon (1975),
- Tobacyk and Milford (1983)
- Schlitz and Honorton (1992)
- Thalbourne and Delin (1994)
- Thalbourne (1998, 2005)
The majority of studies have found a significant correlation between them.
Creativity is known as the ability a person has to create.
In other words, it is defined as the appearance of “a novel, relational product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual” (Rogers, 1995; pp. 350).
Cal Cooper's brief example of how paranormal belief is viewed and explored in psychology and parapsychology
Studies investigating the association between paranormal belief and creativity
One of the first was that carried out by Joesting and Joesting (1969). This study was examining the correlation between creativity and paranormal belief. The results had showed creativity to correlate positively with belief in the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP).
Davis et al., (1974) also found belief in ESP to be positively correlated with creativity and sensation seeking. Another study carried out in 1975 investigated belief in extra sensory perception among art students (Moon, 1975). The analysis indicated a significant correlation between art students and belief in extra sensory perception.
After this research study, no other similar study was carried out, until of course the 1990s when research in this area had began again.
In 1994, Thalbourne and Delin carried out a research study and found that creative personality is indeed associated with paranormal believers. There have been suggestions made concerning creativity’s correlation with psi belief (Murphy, 1963) and there is also experimental evidence that supports artistic creativity in psi believers (Schlitz and Honorton, 1992). Moreover, sensation seeking, which is a close correlate of creativity, has also been found to positively correlate with Psi belief and spiritualism (Tobacyk and Milford, 1983). Brown et al. (1974) on the other hand found an association between creativity and belief in astrology.
In 2005, Thalbourne traced 8 studies which had found correlations between creative personality and paranormal belief. The studies identified, were Joesting and Joesting (1969), Davis, Peterson and Farley (1974), Moon (1975), Thalbourne and Delin (1994), Thalbourne and Delin (1995), Thalbourne, Bartemucci, Delin, Fox and Nofi (1997), Thalbourne (1998 and 2000), Thalbourne, Keogh and Crawley (1999). Four of these studies have already been mentioned above (Joesting and Joesting, 1969; Davis et al., 1974; Moon, 1975; Thalbourne and Delin, 1994). Therefore, studies carried out by Thalbourne (1998; 2000) and Thalbourne et al., (1997) investigated transiminality correlates, finding correlations with creativity, paranormal belief as well as mystical experiences. In 1994 and 1995, Thalbourne and Delin, explored paranormal believers’ clinical status as well as personality. In both studies correlations were identified between paranormal belief and creative personality. Thalbourne et al. (1999) carrying out a similar study also found a relationship between belief and creativity. From the meta-analysis of these studies, Thalbourne consequently indicated that there is strong evidence supporting that belief in the paranormal is correlated with creative personality.
Creativity's association with certain types of paranormal belief
The existing evidence indicates that there is an association between paranormal belief and creativity.
However, some studies support that creativity is associated with specific aspects of paranormal belief, such as:
- Psi belief (Murphy, 1963; Schlitz and Honorton, 1992),
- Spiritualism (Tobacyk and Milford, 1983)
- Belief in extra sensory perception (Moon, 1975)
- Belief in astrology (Brown et al., 1974).
Extrasensory perception: Cal Cooper
Generally, creativity has been regarded as the expression of one’s imagination. The Dictionary of Psychology (Reber and Reber, 2001) sate’s that imagination is considered creative and constructive.
Therefore, since there is evidence showing to support the existence of a relationship between paranormal belief and creative personality, another question may rise concerning whether an association exists between paranormal belief and imagination.