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2019: Volume 1, Issue 1

The Michigan Odd Beliefs Scale: A Measure of Suggestibility as Assessed by Endorsement of Urban Myths

Robert J Spencer1,2*, Annalise M Rahman1,2, Heather A Tree1, Percival H Pangilinan3, Linas A Bieliauskas2

1Department of Mental Health Services, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI;
2Department of Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI;
3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI

Corresponding Author: Robert J Spencer, Ph.D., Department of Mental Health Services (116C), VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, 2215 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.

Received: August 29, 2019
Published: September 16, 2019

ABSTRACT

We describe the development and psychometric characteristics of the Michigan Odd Beliefs Suggestibility Scale (MOBS), a brief measure of suggestibility as measured by the endorsement of urban myths. One hundred fifteen undergraduate students (57% female, mean age=20.3 years [SD=4.5]) were administered 21 “true” or “false” items, consisting of “urban myths” which are popularly referenced. The MOBS had a mean endorsement of 6.4 items (SD=3.3), with an endorsement of greater than 12 items occurring in fewer than five percent of participants. The MOBS had fair-to-moderate internal consistency, with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.67. The MOBS demonstrated convergent validity with a subscale of Openness on the NEO-FFI but was not significantly associated with other personality traits or need for cognition. These findings support the MOBS as a measure of susceptibility to belief in unsupported axioms; such susceptibility is a distinct trait that has not been sufficiently captured by other assessment measures. While we describe the psychometric characteristic of the MOBS in a university population, it is quite possibly similarly applicable in clinical settings.

Keywords: Insight, Psychometrics, Assessment, Suggestibility, Michigan Odd Beliefs Scale (MOBS)

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