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Conscious Cogn. 2000 Dec;9(4):591-617.

The revised transliminality scale: reliability and validity data from a Rasch top-down purification procedure.

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  • 1Illinois State Board of Education, 100 N. First St., Springfield, Illinois, 62777-0001, USA.


The concept of transliminality ("a hypothesized tendency for psychological material to cross thresholds into or out of consciousness") was anticipated by William James (1902/1982), but it was only recently given an empirical definition by Thalbourne in terms of a 29-item Transliminality Scale. This article presents the 17-item Revised Transliminality Scale (or RTS) that corrects age and gender biases, is unidimensional by a Rasch criterion, and has a reliability of.82. The scale defines a probabilistic hierarchy of items that address magical ideation, mystical experience, absorption, hyperaesthesia, manic experience, dream interpretation, and fantasy proneness. These findings validate the suggestions by James and Thalbourne that some mental phenomena share a common underlying dimension with selected sensory experiences (such being overwhelmed by smells, bright lights, sights, and sounds). Low scores on transliminality remain correlated with "tough mindedness" in on Cattell 16PF test, as well as "self-control" and "rule consciousness," whereas high scores are associated with "abstractedness" and an "openness to change" on that test. An independent validation study confirmed the predictions implied by our definition of transliminality. Implications for test construction are discussed.

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