Shaman Rituals and Detecting Psi

Rock and colleagues recently conducted a replication of a previous study examining shamans and psychic ability. The current study looked at various psychological processes used to perform shaman rituals and their association with success on a psi test.


These researchers tested this possibility by setting up psi tests in the lab. Two groups were used. The first group was essentially told to relax and try and detect which picture had been previously selected (psychic guessing). The other group listened to drumming and was given specific ritual visualizations in order to try and psychically guess the correctly selected picture. Two other groups were given mixtures of these instructions in order to completely account for the effect of just drumming or just visualizations.


Results from this study indicated that an overall relationship between the conditions and psi were not present. However, an examination of participant’s experiences during the experiment showed a relationship between altered experiences, changes in time sense, and perception, and correctly guessing the target picture. Thus, these results show limited support that ritual processes may facilitate psychic processes.


Rock, A. J., Storm, L., Harris, L., & Friedman, H. L. (2013). Shamanic-like journeying and psi signal detection: II. phenomenological dimensions. Journal of Parapsychology, 77, 249-270.


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