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Need for mystery : development and validation of a new construct Carey, Jasmine Marie

Abstract

This dissertation introduces a new construct I have labeled Need for Mystery and the scale designed to measure this construct. Need for Mystery (nMyst) is a tendency to maintain cherished beliefs by mystifying them. Instead of the systematic approach entailed by science, such individuals justify their beliefs in ways that are not easily susceptible to proof or disproof and fit with a more intuitive way of understanding the world. In order to study nMyst, I have constructed a questionnaire to measure individual differences in the construct. Included are details of the scale construction and four studies conducted to establish its validity as a measure of nMyst. Study 1(N = 326) evaluated the factor structure of the initially generated item set. It also included a number of other personality scales to begin to assess the nomological network of potentially related constructs. Study 2 (N = 15,630) was collected on Facebook. The final dataset was large enough to allow for independent tests of a number of CFA models. Included was a direct comparison of Western-heritage participants with Chinese-heritage participants. I also tested the nMyst scale items using an Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis and examined the influence of nMyst on religious conversion. Study 3 (N = 360) extended the nomological net to include measures of political attitudes. Participants were recruited using Mechanical Turk. Study 4 (N = 100) specifically addressed issues of discriminant validity and evaluated the temporal stability of the nMyst scale with a 3-month test-retest reliability. These four studies indicate that nMyst is reliable and valid measure that makes a unique contribution to the literature on individual differences in belief.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

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