Exploring cognitive processes used by mediums during alleged communication with the deceased

Journal article


Connelly, C., Vernon, D. and Cane, J. 2023. Exploring cognitive processes used by mediums during alleged communication with the deceased. Journal of Anomalous Experience and Cognition (JAEX).
AuthorsConnelly, C., Vernon, D. and Cane, J.
Abstract

Throughout history and across cultures, there have been individuals that allege they can communicate with discarnate personalities (i.e., the spirit or consciousness of someone who has died). Within the Western world, these individuals are referred to as Mediums and find acceptance under the auspices of the Spiritualist religion. Researchers have extensively studied Mediums, primarily with an emphasis on assessing the veracity of such communication. However, very little research has focused on the possible self-reported cognitive strategies mediums may use during their sittings to facilitate such communication. Hence, this study aimed to try and gain some understanding regarding the type of self-reported cognitive strategies that may be involved in the mediumistic process. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 Spiritualist medium tutors using a reflexive Thematic Analysis (TA) approach. This analysis identified three main themes: focused attention and inhibition of distractions, multitasking behaviors, and memory-related phenomena, which could be associated with components of executive functions.

These themes suggest that mediums may use specific cognitive processes to initiate and maintain alleged discarnate communication with discarnate personalities. The implications of such findings are discussed.

KeywordsSpiritualist ; Mediumship; Medium; Executive function; Cognition; Thematic analysis
Year2023
JournalJournal of Anomalous Experience and Cognition (JAEX)
PublisherLunds Universitet
ISSN2004-1969
2004-1977
Related URLhttps://journals.lub.lu.se/jaex/index
Publication dates
Print29 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Apr 2023
Accepted author manuscript
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Restricted
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