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Paranormal belief: Revised Paranormal Belief Scale

Updated on March 26, 2013

Revised Paranormal Belief Scale

The Revised Paranormal Belief scale was developed by Tobacyk (2004) and is considered to be the most widely used scale to measure belief in the Paranormal (Irwin, 2007). This scale is consisted of 26 statements which were designed to assess people’s personal (level of) belief in the paranormal. It uses a seven likert scale (from 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree). Those who score higher on this scale are reveal belief in the Paranormal (or at least acceptance of it).

From all 26 statements there are:

  • Four statements which measure belief in tradition religious beliefs
  • four statements which measure Precognition; four measuring Psi
  • four measuring Witchcraft; four measuring Spiritualism
  • three measuring Extraordinary Life forms
  • three measuring Superstition

(Tobacyk, 2004)

Although this test was criticized about how decisively the multidimensionality of paranormal belief is assessed (Lawrence and Thalbourne, 1995), it has been considered the most widely used scale in the majority of studies in this area of research (Irwin, 2009). Yet the major benefit of using the RBPS is that it covers a number of different phenomena which are undertaken as paranormal.

Is paranormal belief common?

Limitations of the Paranormal Belief Scale

Though this scale has been beneficial for research, there are also some limitations concerning its use. Some statements are not expressed thoroughly. For instance consider the statement “The abominable snowman of Tibet exists”. Many people do not know what this is consequently when this statement comes up answers given are more likely to be inaccurate. Thus, by knowing what the abdominal snowman of Tibet is, maybe people would question its existence, and depending on their judgments they will see to what extend they believe in its existence or not.

It is important to note that the measuring technique used to assess belief, in the RPBS, has been the centre of considerable debate. With others suggesting that paranormal belief should be tested as a multidimensional area (Tobacyk and Milford, 1983) whereas others support that it should be assessed as a unitary variable (Lawrence and Thalbourne, 1995a).

On the other hand, is paranormal belief actually measurable? Say today something is considered paranormal but tomorrow it may not. For instance, bear in mind the statement “there is life on other planets”, in previous years this may have seemed paranormal whereas today it is considered a scientific concept.


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    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for your kind comments Alan, I am glad you have found my articles interesting. I can remember a tutor of mine had conducted his PhD research on the feeling of being watched. I believe that most of us, if not all, got this feeling from time to time :)

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      It's almost as interesting to read the comments as the articles themselves. In this case it may be the comments are AS interesting. You certainly draw interesting ideas with this kind of subject matter!

      I sometimes get this feeling - as if I'm being 'watched over', looked after. I get a shiver down my spine, stop and walk on. Or it may be it's just me getting older.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for the votes and support Eddy, i really appreciate it :) Take care.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I am very open minded on this subject and also very interested. I vote this one up and bookmark into my Favorite hubs.

      I now look forward to reading many more by you.

      Take care


    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      prasetio30 and hoteltravel: Thank you both for your comments and votes, I am very glad you have found this hub interesting.

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      I never knew that paranormal belief is measurable. Your closing statement is too true. Paranormal is something not in accordance with scientific laws. With science revealing the secrets behind various unexplained phenomena, most things considered paranormal is no longer so. Voted up and interesting.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      There is another world that is not visible for normal people and mystery behind these things. I think only paranormal can reveal for unexplained mystery. So, I believe them. Very inspiring hub and thanks for share with us. Rated up and interesting!


    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you very much femme, I am very happy that you have found the subject interesting and have gained some information from my hub.

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago


      I think I personally qualify as "paranormal". (Wink)

      It's an interesting field, but I had no idea they had a "scale" for belief regarding it, lol.

      Cool hub! I've learned something!


    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Hello Gypsy Rose Lee, I have conducted research using this scale and I must say that I too have my doubts of whether paranormal belief could actually be measured. Thanks for your comments and votes :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. I don't know if paranormal concepts should even be considered measurable. I have had many experiences with the paranormal but I look upon them as a matter of believing or not believing. Since I believe I feel very close to the world beyond.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Thank you for voting and commenting Angela, I am glad you have found this topic interesting.

    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I believe in the paranormal although I have not had any experiences that I am aware of yet. Voted up and interesting.

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Interesting question jenubouka, I personally believe that most people, if not all, could experience some instances. That we all have the ability but just don't know it.

      Think of this example:

      You woke up one day an have been thinking about a really good friend who happens to live in an other country and you have ages to hear from. By the end of the day you receive an phone call from the friend you have been thinking about to find out that he/she has been trying to call you for the past two days. Couldn't telepathy be considered the case here?

      What I am trying to say is that most paranormal instances (or abilities) are actually normal however, they may have been considered paranormal because they have been misunderstood.

      I hope I am making sense, you see, this is a very big area to discuss. Maybe I will create an other hub upon your question jenubouka, hoping to make my point a bit clearer. Thanks for stopping by and commenting:)

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 6 years ago

      Hi Nell Rose, thanks for reading and commenting, I truly believe that many things are actually normal, such as telepathy as you said.

    • Parks McCants profile image

      Parks McCants 6 years ago from Eugene Oregon U.S.A.

      Believe in the posibility of all things possible...

      The power of positive psychology is unlimited.

      Interesting read Chris.

      I look forward to reading you in the future. Thank you for following me on Hubpages. Much appreciated!

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      This was a very interesting article I wish I could read more, seriously. I did not know that there was a scale to measure the Paranormal belief. I, for one, do this it is a very real thing, yet it scares the SHOERts out me. They say some have more of an open mind/door to allow or experience these types of encounters. What do you think?

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Yes I do think that's the point really, what is paranormal? for example telepathy has been more or less proved because of the fact that people have an electrical field around them, and so is the brain, and I have used telepathy a lot, not deliberatly but I always know when someones going to phone, or knock at the door, etc as for the yeti? I believe it is a normal creature that we just have discovered yet! lol!