Review by Tim Knepper, 2001
Hood, Ralph W., Jr. “Religious Orientation and the Report of Religious Experience.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 9 (1970): 284-291.
Hood, Ralph W., Jr. “The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical Experience.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 14 (1975): 29-41.
In the first phase of the study described in “Religious Orientation and the Report of Religious Experience” fifty-one introductory psychology students (all of whom identified themselves as Christians) were administered an operational measure of religious experience called the “Religious Experience Episodes Measure” (REEM) – a booklet filled with fifteen different descriptions of religious experiences culled from William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience – that the students were asked to rate according to the degree to which they had had similar experiences. Based on a number of factors, Hood concluded that his REEM was a “valid measure of reported religious experience insofar as it reliably distinguishes among persons claiming to have had religious experience” (287) – i.e., the REEM distinguishes between persons who have and have not had a religious experience. In the second phase of the study described in “Religious Orientation and the Report of Religious Experience” Hood examines the empirical relationship between the report of religious experience as determined in the REEM and G.W. Allport’s “Religious Orientation Scale” (ROS), an empirical test of the motivational basis for an individual’s participation in an organized religion (which Allport categorizes as either intrinsically motivated (“one who lives his religion”) or extrinsically motivated (“one who uses his religion for personal gain”). Based upon the results of the second phase of this study, Hood concludes that intrinsically motivated individuals are more likely to report having had religious experiences than extrinsically motivated individuals.
Hood’s measure of reported mystical experience, presented in “The Construction and Preliminary Validation of a Measure of Reported Mystical Experience,” seems on the whole much more sophisticated than his measure of reported religious experience (above). Using Walter Stace’s conceptual categorization of the phenomenological characteristics of mystical experience, Hood constructed a thirty-two item scale (“Mysticism Scale, Research Form D”) consisting of four items (two of which are stated positively, two negatively) per each of Stace’s eight categories: Ego Quality; Unifying Quality; Inter-subjective Quality; Temporal/Spatial Quality; Noetic Quality; Ineffability; Positive Affect; Religious Quality. This scale was presented to 300 college students in the form of a questionnaire, the results of which, according to Hood, confirm both the usefulness and accuracy of it in the investigation of mystical experiences. Hood also distinguished two subsets of his Mysticism Scale: “Factor I,” an indicator of intense experiences that are interpreted neither necessarily religiously nor positively (and consists of items in the categories of unifying quality, temporal/spatial quality, inner subjective quality and ineffability); and “Factor II,” an indicator of a joyful expression of more traditionally defined religious experiences that are not necessarily mystical (and consist of items in the categories of ego quality, noetic quality, positive affect, and religious quality). Finally, Hood reports on the findings of several related tests, one of which suggests a correlation between the Mystic Scale and an intrinsic religious orientation (as conceived by the ROS), another of which finds a correlation between the Mystic Scale and Hood’s scale of religious experience (the REEM).