The Spiritual Contagion Scale: A Measure of Beliefs In The Transfer of Metaphysical Properties

Journal of Consumer Psychology, doi: 10.1002/jcpy.1331

31 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2022

See all articles by Jin Kim

Jin Kim

Northeastern University

George Newman

University of Toronto - Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Natalie Fedotova

Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry

Paul Rozin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology

Date Written: November 5, 2022

Abstract

Contagion is the belief that an entity’s invisible or essential qualities can be transferred to a target. Researchers studying contagion have often distinguished between physical contagion (the perceived transfer of germs, toxins, and pathogens) and spiritual contagion (the perceived transfer of metaphysical properties such as spirits, essence, and moral characteristics). While sensitivity to physical contagion is a component of several existing scales, to date, there are no scales that measure sensitivity to spiritual contagion. Here, we develop and validate a measure of Spiritual Contagion Sensitivity (SCS), which considers positive, negative, and neutral aspects of spiritual contagion. We demonstrate discriminant validity from existing measures of physical contagion sensitivity, such as perceived vulnerability to disease and disgust sensitivity (Study 1). We demonstrate construct validity by showing the correlation between SCS and a variety of published findings in the literature for which spiritual contagion beliefs have been hypothesized to play a role (Study 2). Finally, we demonstrate predictive utility of the SCS scale by showing significant moderation of spiritual contagion effects from the literature (Studies 3A-3C).

Keywords: Contagion, Magical Thinking, Essentialism, Individual Differences, Psychometrics, Judgment and Decision Making

JEL Classification: D91, D83

Suggested Citation

Kim, Jin and Newman, George and Fedotova, Natalie and Rozin, Paul, The Spiritual Contagion Scale: A Measure of Beliefs In The Transfer of Metaphysical Properties (November 5, 2022). Journal of Consumer Psychology, doi: 10.1002/jcpy.1331, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4273328 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4273328

Jin Kim (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

George Newman

University of Toronto - Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Natalie Fedotova

Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry

Paul Rozin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychology

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