Paranormal experiences in the general population

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1992 Jun;180(6):357-61; discussion 362-8. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199206000-00004.


The Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule was administered to a random sample of 502 adults in the general population of Winnipeg, a midwestern Canadian city. Results showed that paranormal/extrasensory experiences were common in the general population. They were linked to a history of childhood trauma and to other dissociative symptom clusters. A factor analysis of the paranormal experiences identified three factors which together accounted for 44.0% of the combined variance of the scores. A model is proposed in which paranormal experiences are conceptualized as an aspect of normal dissociation. Like dissociation in general, paranormal experiences can be triggered by trauma, especially childhood physical or sexual abuse. Such experiences discriminate individuals with childhood trauma histories from those without at high levels of significance.

MeSH terms

  • Acting Out
  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child Abuse / complications
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / complications
  • Deja Vu / psychology
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dissociative Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Magic / psychology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Parapsychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sampling Studies