Non-ordinary experiences (NOE) such as hearing voices, dissociative experiences, or feelings of deep insight are relatively common in the general population but are sometimes associated with diminished quality of life and mental health. Medical interpretations use psychiatric labels, whereas spiritual interpretations may offer a path to empowerment and social inclusion. How individuals appraise such experiences may have a long term impact on their lives. A better understanding of the diversity of NOEs and their appraisals, together with the accompanying psychological and physiological states are crucial.
Our aims are to a) adapt a novel instrument in Brazil that covers a wide-range of experiences and their interpretations without presupposing clinical or spiritual implications, b) study their psychological and physiological profiles, c) understand how selected NOEs are perceived during daily activities and d) in ritualistic group contexts in which such experiences may be collectively appraised. Illuminating these points will help people better understand NOEs and allow them to ‘own’ such experiences without negative health impact.
This new collaboration will validate a new instrument, produce academic articles and broaden the general knowledge on NOEs and religious cognition among researchers in Brazil, mental health professionals and the general public.