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July 1959

Cultural Determinants of Response to Hallucinatory Experience

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(1):58-69. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590010074009

Hallucination attracts the attention of the anthropologist for several reasons: First, because, as one of the most ancient and most widely distributed of the modes of human experience, most, if not all, human cultures provide definitions of and responses to it which are of interest to the descriptive ethnographer; second, because a vast quantity of content has been introduced into the cultural repertoire of mankind by hallucinatory ideation in dreams, visions, and hypnogogic imagery, and hallucination must therefore be considered in relation to culture change; and, third, because hallucination is often defined in Western societies as a symptom of mental and/or physical disease, and anthropologists play a role in medical research in these societies. It is in the last context, particularly in the area of mental health research, that the present inquiry is undertaken.

Cross-cultural materials on hallucination may be of interest in a mental health research

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