An avowal of prior scepticism enhances the credibility of an account of a paranormal event

Article


Stone, A. 2013. An avowal of prior scepticism enhances the credibility of an account of a paranormal event. Journal of Language and Social Psychology. 33 (3), pp. 260-281.
AuthorsStone, A.
Abstract

Wooffitt (1992) suggested that a narrator may enhance the plausibility of an account
of an ostensibly paranormal event by making an avowal of prior scepticism but
empirical support to date is lacking. In Experiment 1, participants read a first-person
narrated scenario implicitly suggesting either telepathy or precognition as a causal
explanation, then answered questions about the event and the narrator. The causal
attribution to telepathy/precognition was stronger if the narrator took a position of prior
scepticism compared to prior belief. This finding was reversed in Experiment 2 in
which participants were pre-warned about the technique; the causal attribution to
telepathy/precognition was stronger if the narrator declared prior belief. For a female
narrator, but not male, a prior believer was perceived as more gullible than a prior
sceptic. It appears that people may assume some truth in the avowal of prior
scepticism unless encouraged to see it as a manipulative device.

JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Journal citation33 (3), pp. 260-281
ISSN1552-6526
0261-927X
Year2013
PublisherSAGE
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261927X13512115
Publication dates
Print04 Dec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Dec 2013
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