Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence / Edition 1

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For much of the twentieth century, unusual perceptions and sensations, radical alterations of consciousness, and other extraordinary subjective experiences were ignored as legitimate topics of study in mainstream psychology. Recent years, however, have witnessed a burgeoning interest in the scientific study of anomalous experiences, thanks in no small part to the impact of the first edition of this book, which was published in 2000. In this revised and thoroughly updated edition of their classic text, the editors have invited experts to provide definitive reviews and analyses of a wide range of anomalous experiences, from commonly documented sensations and perceptions like synesthesia, lucid dreaming, out-of-body experiences, and auditory and visual hallucinations, to rarer and more seemingly inexplicable experiences such as anomalous healing, past-lives, near-death, mystical experiences, and even alien abductions. While acknowledging the difficulty inherent in studying any subjective experience, the authors nonetheless provide, along with new research in neuroscience, comprehensive scientific coverage of each of these experiences, through its prevalence and etiology, phenomenology, aftereffects, any related psychopathology, theoretical explanations, and related clinical issues. An integrative summary chapter is a new feature of this edition. The book makes a compelling case for the inclusion of these marginalized and under-recognized experiences as not merely incidental, but essential to our understanding of human psychology.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

George Bernard Shaw defined a miracle as 'an event which creates faith'. Varieties of Anomalous Experience is miraculous because it succeeds in examining anomalous events from a rigorous, open-minded, scientific perspective….Modern psychology has been a little like the person who looks for his lost keys under the lamppost because the light is better there, first focusing on behavior, then cognition, then emotions. Cardeña, Lynn and Krippner have provided a powerful flashlight to expanded territory to be explored for the key to experiences that challenge our power to explain.
—David Spiegel, M.D., Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavorial Sciences, Stanford University, School of Medicine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557986252
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 476
  • Product dimensions: 7.28 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 1.43 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2000

    Review by Robert Morris, Ph.D., U. of Edinburgh

    This is an extraordinary volume, head and shoulders above anything previously written on the topic. In this reviewer¿s opinion it should be on the bookshelves of all academic psychologists and mental health workers, plus many others in related disciplines. It contains a wealth of relatively unknown information about a variety of unusual experiences that are puzzling and occasionally frightening to those who have them, and which appear to challenge our understanding of the world around us. Yet it manages to do so from consistently balanced perspectives. This is no easy task when writing about controversial topics which far too often are either casually dismissed as trivial and irrational, or exaggerated and trumpeted as holding the key to our understanding of the nature of reality. A closer look at the book itself will illustrate. In an introduction, the three editors define anomalous experience (AE) as, 'an uncommon experience (e.g. synesthesia) or one that, although it may be experienced by a substantial amount of the population (e.g. experiences interpreted as telepathic) is believed to deviate from ordinary experience as far as the usually accepted explanation of reality'. The first major section of the book, deals with conceptual and methodological issues. The second, main section of the book has ten chapters, each one about a different set of an AE, each written by specialists in the respective areas and organised in groups by the editors. The first three involve experiences clearly tied to sensation and perception: hallucinations, synesthesia and lucid dreaming. The next two involve experiences accompanied by a sense of detachment, but not necessarily transcendent: out-of-body experiences and psi-related experiences. These are followed by two experiences involving body movement or transformation: alien abduction, and past-life experiences. The final three experiences all involve transcendent transformations of some sort: near death experiences, anomalous healing and mystical experiences.

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