Date of Award

8-1998

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Armstrong

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

One aspect of human behavior that is of interest to psychology deals with the types of beliefs that people hold. It is necessary to look at the beliefs themselves, in addition to the basis for these beliefs. We are bombarded with information given to us via the news media through various sources. It is important to look at this information in a critical light considering there may be motivation on the part of others to express views or ideas that are not necessarily true, or necessarily supported by valid facts. Many television shows as well as news shows are focusing a great deal of attention on paranormal and extraterrestrial occurrences. The way in which the public views this information is reflected in their answers to a questionnaire developed to reveal the extent of their belief as well as the basis for their beliefs. A pre-test, post-test design was used to assess the beliefs of a group of 95 undergraduate students. The students were divided into three groups, and in two of the groups, an attempt to alter beliefs was made.

It was found the video intervention that was used showed a slight increase in belief in the targeted areas (extraterrestrial and paranormal). An analysis of variance showed that there was no significant difference in the mean beliefs of any of the three groups. Correlations between questions and religious beliefs were also calculated.

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