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J Psychol. 2006 Jul;140(4):319-27.

Contribution of religiousness in the prediction and interpretation of mystical experiences in a sensory deprivation context: activation of religious schemas.

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Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


M. A. Persinger (2002) claimed that transcranial magnetic stimulation with weak, complex magnetic fields evokes mystical experiences. However, in a double-blind experiment, P. Granqvist, M. Fredrikson, P. Unge, A. Hagenfeldt, S. Valind., et al. (2005) found no effects of field exposure on mystical experiences (N = 89), though a minority of participants reported spontaneous mystical experiences. Following the conclusion of null effects from magnetic field exposure, the setup of this experiment, including pre-experimental assessments of religiousness and sensory deprivation, can be viewed as a prime/setting for such experiences. The authors analyzed subsets of experimental data from P. Granqvist and colleagues with emphasis on the contribution of religiousness in the prediction and interpretation of mystical experiences. They found that a higher degree of religiousness predicted a higher occurrence of mystical experiences with a religious quality, but not of mystical experiences without such a quality. The authors discuss findings in terms of the experimental setup serving as a prime/setting activating the religious schemas of religious participants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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