A meta-analysis (by Saroglou, Delpierre and Dernelle, 2004, referenced in Farias & Lalljee, 2008) brought together studies from 15 countries, which included more than 8,000 test subjects, from different religious backgrounds, and the results showed that traditional religiosity correlates positively with different measures of collectivism. However, there was no connection between religiosity and universalism, which may seem strange given that this may seem close to religious ideals. The authors try to explain this by saying that a collectivist orientation may be limited to the well-being of one's own ingroup in the first place (Farias &lalljee, 2008).
Farias and Lalljee (2008) note that the New Age differs from both Catholics and non-religious in the survey. They were individualistic like the latter, but at the same time universalist. Their self-images were remarkable and deviated from the responses of both other groups, in that they were so abstract (e.g., "I am a drop in the ocean" or "I am a bridge") (Farias &lalljee, 2008)
In the survey of Farias and Lalljee (2008), New Age supporters scored higher than the other two groups on "Universialism." This concept emphasizes things like harmony and equality (Farias &lalljee, 2008)
In a study by Farias and Lalljee (2008), 159 people who were either Catholics, New Age followers, or agnostics/atheists (53 from each group) New Age followers were tested to be both more individualistic and egocentric in their choices and motives, and have a universalist orientation. They shared some karakatar traits with the traditionally religious, and some with the non-religious in the survey (Farias &. Lalljee, 2008).
One study compared New Age followers to Catholics and agnostics. The aim was to investigate whether the New Age is really about an interest in self-transcendence or whether it is more a reinforcement of common individualistic and secular values and behaviors (Farias &lalljee, 2008). The result was that new age followers in some parts really resembled atheists, but that they also have a set of abstract notions of themselves.
A survey (Farias, 2004; ref in Farias & Gr, 2007) examined collectivist and individualistic ideals of Catholics, atheists and New Age-interested people. It turned out that New Age followers emphasized individualism as highly as atheists, and then distinguished themselves from the Catholics in the survey. The former emphasized such things as independence and hedonism. New age adherents also emphasized a universalism, which can be interpreted as tolerance, a concern for humanity and nature, p125 (Farias &granqvist, 2007).
Why, then, is it individualism and not collectivism that is associated with such radical equality, as in this survey of Catholics and New Age followers, among others, ask Farias and Lalljee? (2008).
Individuals with a collectivist orientation usually, asked to describe themselves, do this with judgments related to their social reality and/or are concrete (e.g., "I am a daughter", "I am a baker"), while those with a more individualistic orientation use more abstract judgments about themselves (e.g., "I am cheerful"). In a study by Farias and Lalljee (2008), New Age followers described themselves in extremely individualistic and abstract words (e.g., "I am a force")
The ind/koll survey (Farias) was also asked to describe themselves in twenty words, in response to "Who am I?". The answers were then encoded according to abstract and concrete
"New Age participants gave far more global abstract self-descriptions than did the other two groups[ Catholics and non-believers]. Furthermore, many of these were highly abstract descriptions in which the individual tended to see him-/herself as a process, a metaphor or part of a universal force" (Farias &Granqvist, 2007, p126).
Magical thinking & "thin-walledness".
Ninety-nine test subjects (n=99) were recruited in different ways for this study. They would have no history of psychiatric illness. These were tested with a battery of instruments, partly to determine the type of spiritual or religious orientation, and partly to test personality traits or propensities such as magical thinking and thin and thick "walls". People with new age orientation scored high on both of the above tests, while those who had a traditional religious orientation did not excel in this (Farias, Claridge &lalljee, 2005). ("Not in any of these respects"?)
It was found that being associated with something greater was not only a fixed idea or a thought, but rather a way of relating to and perceiving the world. Participants were asked to comment on a few different stories describing everyday events based on the question: "How would you interpret this situation?" For example, the stories could describe a meeting with someone who feels very familiar, as if you have met before. Instead of suggesting that one might encounter each other in the store some day, or even that "God wanted us to meet," people with NA orientation explained this situation using paranormal or metaphysical arguments: "Our souls have probably met before," or "We have the same energies that make us feel drawn to each other" (Farias &. Lalljee, 2006; ref in Farias &granqvist, 2007).
Holism within NA can perhaps also be explained by a penchant for "magical thinking" that research has shown (Farias, Claridge and Lalljee, 2005). Such an orientation is characterized by precisely a holistic worldview where "entities and events are connected in a way that defies modern rationalistic notions of causality" (Farias &lalljee, 2008)
Farias and Lalljee (2008) point out that such a orientation for magical thinking can also be something that is emphasized and encouraged within a particular culture, such as the New Age, and that this can also explain results (Farias &lalljee, 2008)
One experiment showed that people who had an NA orientation scored higher on schizotypal personality traits, magical thinking, cognitive loseness, and high sensitivity ("emotional hypersensitivity"). These characteristics were not found in those in the group who had a traditional religious orientation (Farias, Claridge & Lalljee, 2005).
Schizotypi has been studied based on two different models. One sees schizotypia more as a delimited disease or problem, or something close to schizophrenia and psychosis, while the other regards schizotypia as something found along a spectrum from adaptive or harmless, to potentially problematic. It may even be conceivable that an elevated value of this variable may be of benefit to the individual, to imagination and spirituality. Here, schizotypia is seen as a personality dimension and not as pathology (Farias, Claridge &. Lalljee, 2005).
Light schizotypia, as well as a lighter form of dissociation called "absorption", to be able to become engulfed. (Far & Granqv, 2007)
Dissociation can be described as "a break-down in the individual's normal attentional processing, which result in anomalous shifts in consciousness" Examples of dissociation are depersonalization, derealization and selective amnesia (Farias &granqvist, 2007).
Leakage (Farias &granqvist, 2007). If this can be relativized (as is also done with fondness within NA) but one must then consider that relativization can also fulfill several functions: a kind of laziness, a gimmick (Flax, XX), all the way to a kind of self-induced dissociation (ref dissocation, Granqvist?)
Thin or thick "walls" in consciousness (Hartmann, see art!). One can imagine that human life is structured with the help of many, both external and internal, walls or boundaries. Internal walls can be, for example, between sleep and vigil, between unconscious and conscious, etc. A person with "thin walls" stands out for things like mixing emotions and thoughts together, that he or she more often reports or believes in things like clirvoyance (Farias, Claridge &lalljee, 2005)
"The thin boundaries construct accounts for some characteristics of the New Age religiosity, such as the sense of 'connectedness' and 'holism', as well as a particulary associative thinking style, and an emotional vulnerability or hypersensitivity" (Hartmann, 1991; ref i Farias, Claridge &lalljee, 2005)
In several surveys, people with Borderline personality disorder, as well as those with Schizotype dito, have distinguished themselves for having particularly thin walls (Farias, Claridge &lalljee, 2005)
One experiment showed a screen that randomly exposed many small dots. However, the instruction was that some screenshots will represent something, others will not. New age-oriented test subjects reported meaningful motives more often than others. This is seen as a measure of something called "cognitive loseness" and can be linked to the propensity to believe in paranormal and magical events or principles (Brugger et al, 1993, referenced in Farias, Claridge & Lalljee, 2005).
"Leakage from the pre-conscious" or impaired barriers against things coming to consciousness, has been called "cognitive loseness" (Farias &granqvist, 2007).
A laboratory experiment where the test subject was allowed to sit in front of a computer screen in a dimly lit room. 100 points that shifted at high speed in a random way were shown to the test subject for ten minutes. The instruction was that subjects would switch with random images, and that they would tell when something came to be recognized. NA followers saw significantly more motifs (e.g., animal motifs, dancing people, angels, etc.). People with a traditional religious orientation saw no more than the cut (Farias, Claridge &. Lalljee, 2005).
Berger and colleagues. Something similar, as with dots, has also been made with words by the same researchers, who have shown stronger semantic connections (Farias &granqvist, 2007).
In terms of certain cognitive and personality traits, there are significant differences between regular religious individuals and those engaged in the New Age (Farias, Claridge &. Lalljee, 2005).
These are two different groups, in short.