Scientists are exploring why some people can “hear” the voices of the dead

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Scientists have identified traits in which a person is more likely to claim to hear the voices of the dead.

A predisposition to high levels of task immersion, unusual auditory experiences in childhood, and a high susceptibility to auditory hallucinations are all more pronounced in people who describe clairvoyance than in the general population, according to new research.

The discovery may help us better understand the unpleasant auditory hallucinations that accompany mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, the researchers say.

Spiritualistic experiences of clairvoyance and clairaudience – experiences of seeing or hearing something in the absence of an external stimulus, attributed to the spirits of the dead – are of great scientific interest both for anthropologists who study religious and spiritual experiences and for scientists who study pathological hallucinatory experiences.

“Spiritualists tend to report unusual auditory experiences that begin early in life and which they can often then control,” explained psychologist Peter Moseley of the University of Northumbria in the UK.

“Understanding how they develop is important because it can help us learn more about the anxious or uncontrollable experience of hearing voices.”

He and fellow psychologist Adam Powell of Durham University in the UK recruited and interviewed 65 clairvoyant mediums from the National Union of Spiritualists of Great Britain and 143 ordinary people recruited through social media to determine what separates spiritualists from the general public, who (usually) does not report on that hears the voices of the dead.

Overall, 44.6 percent of Spiritualists reported hearing voices on a daily basis, and 79 percent said they were part of their daily life. And while most of them heard voices in their heads, 31.7% reported that the voices were also external.

The poll results were amazing.

Compared to ordinary people in general, spiritualists reported much more belief in the paranormal and were less concerned with what other people thought of them.

They also reported that they were prone to hallucinatory experiences. The researchers noted that they generally had not heard of spiritualism prior to their experience; rather, they stumbled upon it while looking for answers.

In the general sample, high absorption levels were also strongly correlated with belief in the paranormal, but with little or no susceptibility to auditory hallucinations. And in both groups there were no differences in the level of belief in the paranormal and the predisposition to visual hallucinations.

These results suggest that being able to hear the “voices of the dead” is unlikely to be the result of peer pressure, positive social context, or suggestibility from belief in the paranormal, the researchers said. Instead, these people embrace Spiritualism because it is consistent with their experience and has a personal meaning for them.

“Our results say a lot about learning and striving. For our members, the principles of spiritism seem to make sense both in unusual childhood experiences and in the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums, ”Powell said.

“But all of these experiences may be more the result of having certain tendencies or early abilities, than simply believing in the possibility of contact with the dead, if someone tries hard enough.”

They concluded that future research should examine the diverse cultural context in order to better understand the relationship between absorption, faith, and strange spirits whispering in the ear.


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