Attributes associated with mystical experience among Christians, Buddhists, Jews and Pagans are explored in psychometric data presented in this thesis. Two such attributes in particular, the personality trait of psychoticism and attitudes held towards mysticism, are given focal attention. Psychoticism, a trait at one time supposedly linked with vulnerability to psychosis, has been much assessed in previous research into religiosity- personality correlates, and a more recent emerging literature has assessed this trait in relationship to religious experience. However, as this thesis clarifies, good grounds exist for challenging the view that this is a homogeneous trait. Assessments of traits relating to distinct facets of psychoticism, specifically the three traits of agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience, provided solid grounds for taking apparently significant positive correlations between mystical experience and psychoticism as evidence that the former is associated with creativity rather than psychosis. In each religious group studied, a significant positive correlation was found between attitudes to mysticism and mystical experience. However, this thesis also presents grounds for distinguishing these concepts. The possibility that psychoticism relates in different ways to these constructs, and the implications this has for the question of whether mysticism arises through social learning or reflects an innate tendency invariant across creed, are considered.
|Date of Award||2005|
- University of Northampton
|Supervisor||Gillian N Penny (Supervisor) & Michael J Lowis (Supervisor)|