Date Approved

2011

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Alida Westman

Abstract

Samples of introductory psychology students, advanced psychology students, and advanced biology students completed the Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale (R-PBS) and the Science Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ). Results indicated that introductory psychology students reported having more paranormal beliefs than either advanced psychology students or advanced biology studnets. The advanced psychology and biology students did not differ from each other in paranormal beliefs. The biology students reported higher levels of science motivation than the psychology students at all levels. Subsequent exploratory analysis indicated that science motivation than psychology students at all levels. Subsequent exploratory analyses indicated that science motivation predicts lower levels of paranormal belief when the R-PBS scores are adjusted for the level of traditional religion. Forther exploratory analyses indicate that differences in science motivation between advanced psychology and biology students disappear when the SMQ scores are adjusted for differences in perceived relevance of science to one's personal goals. This suggests that it may b e beneficial for psychology instructors to focus on improving science motivation by emphasizing the ways in which science is relevant to their personal goals.

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