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October 2021

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Aug; 85(1): 59-65.

An assessment of contextual mediation in trance states of shamanic journeys.

Houran J, Lange R, Crist-Houran M.

University of Illinois at Springfield, USA.

30 experiences of shamanic journeys derived from Harner (1990) were analyzed based on a recent coding scheme for contextual variables proposed by Lange, Houran, Harte, and Havens. Consistent with previous research, the experiential content of the trances was quite consistent with the content of the available contextual variables, and embedded cues in particular (r = .68, p < .001). As predicted, trance states of shamanic journeys are sufficiently structured to suppress contextual effects on the modality of experience. The findings suggest that the contents of shamanic trance are not solely influenced by psychopathology, biochemical effects, or cultural influences.

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