Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

The psychology and parapsychology of the belief in luck and its relation to the belief in PSI and PSI performance

Luke, D. P. (2007) The psychology and parapsychology of the belief in luck and its relation to the belief in PSI and PSI performance. Doctoral thesis. The University of Northampton.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Abstract: Self-reports have described luck as an important factor in people’s lives, and there is a sizable body of psychological research conducted around the belief in luck, primarily as an intangible external element and a companion of gamblers. This thesis reviews the major part of this research, offering a critical analysis and identifying a region of research into luck that warrants further investigation. That is, if psychic events, collectively termed ‘psi’ are possible then such events may just appear to be lucky. Several parapsychological studies have investigated this relationship between luck and psi but have failed to discern if this relationship is real, perhaps because of the lack of explicit definition of luck or the measurement of what it is that the participants believe it to be. To address this issue existing luck belief measures were reviewed but it was clearly necessary to construct a new comprehensive measure based on thorough bottom-up test construction principles. A series of semi-structured interviews about luck were reanalysed qualitatively, the themes of which were used in the generation of items for a questionnaire. Through a series of factor-analyses a final 40-item, 4-factor Questionnaire of Beliefs about Luck (QBL) was produced, with factors labelled Luck, Chance, Providence and Fortune, to which was added a 1-item measure of Perceived Personal Luckiness (PPL). The new measure was found to be robust and internally reliable and correlated with paranormal belief supporting several predictions and thereby demonstrating sound construct validity. The literature on psi and luck indicated that luck might best be understood by Stanford’s (1974a) model of ‘psi-mediated instrumental response’ (PMIR) and a PMIR-type study was planned which incorporated the new QBL. A non-intentional precognition experiment with 100 participants utilised erotic-images as psi incentives and found good evidence of psi with this design. Furthermore, the QBL Luck subscale was found to be a significant predictor variable of psi score, indicating that the measure has good predictive validity, and PPL, belief in psi, and erotic reactivity also correlated with psi scores. There was also a near gender-effect. The findings were discussed in light of previous results and were interpreted in relation to the psychological theories outlined in the literature review, finding support for the notion of self-serving biases, and offering fresh insights into the illusion of control. A model was put forward for the relationship of luck and psi. It was concluded that the QBL was a comprehensive, reliable, valid and useful tool in the investigation of luck
Uncontrolled Keywords: Superstition; parapsychology; fortune; psychokinesis; psychical research; extrasensory perception
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1228 Spiritualism > BF1321 Extrasensory perception
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1228 Spiritualism > BF1431 Precognition
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1001 Parapsychology. Psychic research. Psychology of the conscious
Creators: Luke, David P
Department: School of Social Sciences > Theses
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Health & Society > Theses (Health & Society)
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016) > Theses
Date: 2007
Date Type: Completion
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
Institution: The University of Northampton

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