An avowal of prior scepticism enhances the credibility of an account of a paranormal event
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.
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.
|Journal||Journal of Language and Social Psychology|
|Journal citation||33 (3), pp. 260-281|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Web address (URL)||http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261927X13512115|
|04 Dec 2013|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||13 Dec 2013|
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