First predicted by psychologist, William James, transliminality is a hypothesis for the tendency of psychological material to cross thresholds into or out of consciousness. The flow of information from our conscious to our unconscious has been a subject of great debate, interest and thought for many centuries.
It was William James who suggested that out thoughts were ongoing, switching between internal and external stimuli, which relied on processing needed to in integrate the past with the present.
In recent years the study of interaction between unconscious and conscious processing has delved into examination of how the process work in mental health, problem solving, creativity and the nature of altered consciousness that accompanies paranormal beliefs and experiences, the last being conducted right here in Adelaide, South Australia by parapsychologist, Michael Thalbourne.
It was Thalbourne who defined the Transliminality Scale, a perceptual-personality “test” that is measured using the Rasch Revised Transliminality Scale. The aim of the study was to examine the correlations between conscious and unconscious thought.
The study, including the one mentioned above also took into account three other measures, Hartmanns’s Boundary Questionnaire, The Unusual Experiences Scale of the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences, and temporal lobe lability measures via Persingers Personal Philosophy Inventory. These four measures, it was predicted, would work together well and present a single underlying factor throughout each.
The four scales were administered to 1368 participants, once analysed, and correlated, the tests indeed showed a single underlying factor, which accounted for 74% of the variance, which in turn suggested that the underlying factor for all four variables was indeed Transliminality
So, now you’re probable asking, “what are you talking about, transliminality, how does this apply to the paranormal?”
Well, we all know someone highly creative, or someone highly spiritual, or a mix of both, most have had a supernatural or mystical experience in their lives (there is of course people who are neither who have still had mystical or supernatural experiences). These are the oddballs, the moody creative types who delve eastern philosophies most of us have never heard off, these are the people who would be deemed to have a transliminal personality
To put it in simple terms, Professor Michael Thalbourne, a parapsychologist at the University of Adelaide, conducted a study to measure personality traits, He wanted to know if there was a specific type of person who believed in the paranormal, defined in his study as ESP, psychokinesis or life after death, in particular He wanted to know what separated the believer from the non-believers.
In the end, Thalbourne’s study concluded that people who believed in the paranormal, on the most part shared very similar personalty traits, in fact, so similar, Thalbourne defined the name Transliminality for the personality type.
For more definitions, test results or information please follow the reference links below.
Are You A Transliminal Personality?
If you’re interested in finding out how you rate, take the transliminality survey below and find out.
Thalbourne Transliminality Index (1998)
Answer true or false on the 30 questions below. More true answers indicate a higher transliminality rating.
- Horoscopes are right too often for it to be a coincidence
- At times I perform certain little rituals to ward off negative influences
- I have experienced an altered state of consciousness in which I felt that I became cosmically enlightened
- At the present time, I am very good at make-believe and imagining
- I have felt that I had received special wisdom, to be communicated to the rest of humanity
- I have sometimes behaved in a much more impulsive or uninhibited way than is usual for me
- I am fascinated by new ideas, whether or not they have practical value
- I have sometimes sensed an evil presence around me, although I could not see it
- My thoughts have sometimes come so quickly that I couldn’t write them all down fast enough
- If I could not pretend or make-believe anymore, I wouldn’t be me – I wouldn’t be the same person
- Sometimes I experience things as if they were doubly real
- It is sometimes possible for me to be completely immersed in nature or in art and to feel as if my whole state of consciousness has somehow been temporarily altered
- Often I have a day when indoor lights seem so bright that they bother my eyes
- I am convinced that I have had at least one experience of telepathy between myself and another person
- I am convinced that I am psychic
- I have experienced an altered state of awareness which I believe utterly transformed (in a positive manner) the way I looked at myself
- I am convinced that I have had a premonition about the future that came true and which (I believe) was not just a coincidence
- I think I really know what some people mean when they talk about mystical experiences
- I have gone through times when smells seemed stronger and more overwhelming than usual
- I can clearly feel again in my imagination such things as: the feeling of a gentle breeze, warm sand under bare feet, the softness of fur, cool grass, the warmth of the sun and the smell of freshly cut grass
- A person should try to understand their dreams and be guided by or take warnings from them
- While listening to my favorite music, in addition to feeling calm, relaxed, happy etc, I often have a feeling of oneness with the music, or of being in another place or time, or vividly remembering the past
- At times, I somehow feel the presence of someone who is not physically there
- I am convinced that it is possible to gain information about the thoughts, feelings or circumstances of another person, in a way that does not depend on rational prediction or normal sensory channels
- For several days at a time I have had such a heightened awareness of sights and sounds that I cannot shut them out
- I sometimes have a feeling of gaining or losing energy when certain people look at me or touch me
- Now that I am grown up, I still in some ways believe in such things as elves, witches, leprechauns, fairies, etc.
- Sometimes people think I’m a bit weird because my ideas are so novel
- When listening to organ music or other powerful music, I sometimes feel as if I’m being lifted up into the air