Scientists discover why some people can ‘hear’ the voices of the dead

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have identified personality traits that may increase the likelihood that a person will claim to hear the voices of the dead.

According to a study published in 2021, the predisposition to high levels of problem-solving immersion, unusual auditory experiences in childhood, and high susceptibility to auditory hallucinations are stronger in clairvoyant mediums than in the general population.

The finding could help study auditory hallucinations that accompany mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, the researchers say.

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

In particular, the researchers would like to better understand why some people with auditory experiences report spiritual experiences while others find it more distressing and receive a psychiatric diagnosis.

“Spiritualists tend to report unusual auditory experiences that are positive, start at an early age, and which they can often then control,” psychologist Peter Moseley of Northumbria University in the UK explained when the study first came out.

“Understanding how they develop is important because it can help us better understand what happens to the anxious or uncontrollable experiences associated with hearing voices.”

He and fellow psychologist Adam Powell of the University of Durham in the UK recruited and interviewed 65 clairvoyant mediums from the National Union of Spiritualists of Great Britain and 143 members of the general population recruited through social media to determine what distinguishes Spiritualists from the general population, which (usually) does not report that he hears the voices of the dead.

Overall, 44.6 percent of Spiritualists reported hearing voices on a daily basis, and 79 percent said these experiences were part of their daily lives. While the majority reported hearing voices inside their heads, 31.7 percent reported hearing voices from outside as well.

The survey results were amazing.

Compared to the general population, Spiritualists believed in the paranormal much more and cared less about what other people thought of them.

Spiritualists in general had their first auditory experience at a young age, averaging 21.7 years, and reported high levels of immersion. It is a term that describes total immersion in mental tasks and activities or altered states, as well as how effectively a person is able to disconnect from the outside world.

In addition, they reported that they were more prone to hallucinations. The researchers noted that prior to their experience, they had not usually heard of spiritualism; rather, they faced him in search of answers.

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

These results, the researchers say, suggest that the “voices of the dead” are unlikely to be the result of peer pressure, a positive social context, or suggestibility due to belief in the paranormal. On the contrary, these people accept spiritualism because it fits their experience and has a personal meaning for them.

“Our results speak volumes about ‘learning and striving’. For our participants, spiritualistic teachings seem to make sense of both the unusual childhood experiences and the frequent auditory phenomena they experience as practicing mediums,” Powell said when the study was published.

“But all these experiences may be the result of having certain inclinations or abilities at an early age, rather than simply believing in the possibility of contact with the dead, if you really try.”

Future research, they concluded, should explore different cultural contexts to better understand the relationship between preoccupation, belief, and the strange, spiritual experience of whispering ghosts.


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