The characteristics of a person that may make them more prone to assert that they can communicate with the deceased have been uncovered by researchers.
A high susceptibility to auditory hallucinations, a predisposition to high levels of absorption in tasks, and unusual auditory experiences in childhood are all things that occur more strongly in self-described clairaudient mediums than they do in the general population, according to research that was published in 2021, according to Science Alert.
According to the researchers, this discovery has the potential to improve our understanding of the distressing auditory hallucinations that are associated with mental diseases such as schizophrenia.
Both anthropologists who study religious and spiritual experiences and scientists who study pathological hallucinatory experiences find the Spiritualist experiences of clairvoyance and clairaudience to be of great scientific interest. These experiences involve seeing or hearing something in the absence of an external stimuli, and are attributed to the spirits of the dead.
Specifically, researchers would desire a better understanding of why some persons with auditory encounters report having a Spiritualist experience, while others find it more disturbing and are diagnosed with a mental health condition as a result of their experiences.
“Spiritualists tend to report unusual auditory experiences which are positive, start early in life and which they are often then able to control,” explained psychologist Peter Moseley of Northumbria University in the UK when the study was published. “Understanding how these develop is important because it could help us understand more about distressing or non-controllable experiences of hearing voices too.”
He and his collaborator, psychologist Adam Powell of Durham University in the UK, recruited and surveyed a total of 65 clairaudient mediums from the UK’s Spiritualists’ National Union in addition to 143 members of the general population who were recruited through social media. The goal of the study was to determine what set Spiritualists apart from the general population, who do not (typically) report hearing the voices of the dead.
It was found that, 44.6 percent of the Spiritualists stated they heard voices on a daily basis, and 79 percent said the encounters were a normal part of their existence. And although the majority of people said they heard the voices within their own heads, 31.7 percent said they also heard sounds coming from beyond their own bodies.
The survey’s findings were somewhat startling to say the least. When compared to the general population, those who identified as Spiritualists indicated a much greater level of belief in the supernatural and a lower propensity to care about what other people thought of them.
In general, Spiritualists had their first auditory encounter at a young age, with a median of 21.7 years old, and they reported a high degree of immersion. This is a phrase that refers to the complete absorption in mental processes and activities, as well as altered states, as well as the degree to which a person is able to tune out the world around them.
They claimed that they were more susceptible to having experiences similar to hallucinations. The researchers emphasized that previous to their encounters, they had not often heard of Spiritualism; rather, they had came into it while searching for meanings.
Also, there was a significant correlation found between high levels of absorption and a strong believe in the supernatural among the general public; yet, there was little to no vulnerability to auditory hallucinations.
There was also no discernible difference in the degree to which individuals in either group believed in the supernatural or were prone to experiencing visual hallucinations.
According to the researchers, these findings indicate that having an experience with the “voices of the dead” is thus unlikely to be the consequence of peer pressure, a favorable social setting, or suggestibility owing to believing in the paranormal.
Instead, some people convert to Spiritualism because they find it relevant on a personal level and because it is consistent with their own experiences.
“Our findings say a lot about ‘learning and yearning’. For our participants, the tenets of Spiritualism seem to make sense of both extraordinary childhood experiences as well as the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums,” Powell said when the study was first published. “But all of those experiences may result more from having certain tendencies or early abilities than from simply believing in the possibility of contacting the dead if one tries hard enough,” he added.
The findings of the study were just published in the journal “Mental Health, Religion and Culture.“
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