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Psychosis is episodically required for the enduring integrity of shamanism

  • Joseph Polimeni (a1)


The target article advances several original concepts about shamanism, including prospective explanations for how shamanism could express itself in different cultural settings. Although the potential for “innate psychological tendencies” is acknowledged, the target article prematurely dismisses one such hard-wired feature of shamanism: psychosis.



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Boyer, P. (2001) Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religious thought. Basic Books.
Devereux, G. (1961a) Mohave ethnopsychiatry and suicide: The psychiatric knowledge and the psychic disturbances of an Indian tribe. Government Printing Office.
Laubscher, B. F. J. (1937) Sex, custom, and psychopathology: A study of South African pagan natives. Routledge.
Polimeni, J. (2012) Shamans among us: Schizophrenia, shamanism, and the evolutionary origins of religion. EvoEbooks.
Polimeni, J. & Reiss, J. P. (2002) How shamanism and group selection may reveal the origins of schizophrenia. Medical Hypotheses 58(3):244–48. doi:10.1054/mehy.2001.1504.
Rudaleviciene, P., Stompe, T., Narbekovas, A., Raskauskiene, N. & Bunevicius, R. (2008) Are religious delusions related to religiosity in schizophrenia? Medicina (Kaunas) 44(7):529–35.
Stevens, A. & Price, J. (2000) Prophets, cults, and madness. Duckworth.


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