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Keywords:

  • fully dimensional model;
  • hallucinations;
  • positive affectivity;
  • positive psychology;
  • psychosis;
  • schizotypal;
  • spirituality;
  • unusual experiences

Abstract

Among spiritual individuals, auditory hallucinations (AHs) are often accompanied by positive affectivity (PA) suggesting that such coincidental affective valence might gainfully demark spiritual from comparable non-spiritual aberrant perceptions. Yet nearly all of the relevant past religiosity/spirituality research has been limited to AHs and/or known groups (Evangelicals, epilepsy patients, etc.). Using a community sample (N = 485), this article explores whether unusual perceptual experiences (UEs) more generally (not simply AHs) together with PA predict participants' self-reported spirituality. Specifically, a dual marker hypothesis developed from affect attribution theory—in which UE, PA, and their interaction predict spirituality in a non-additive positive fashion—is proposed and confirmed (even after controlling for socio-demographics). The estimators reveal that spirituality is disproportionately elevated for high scorers on both predictors. These results are consistent with previous known-group studies and support recent speculation that the affective–cognitive interpretation of perceptual aberrations might be a key feature of spirituality and one that potentially demarks it from psychosis. Moreover, the correlation between spirituality and PA varies depending upon one's UE level; a result not anticipated by the incumbent positive psychological theory of spirituality.