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Ayahuasca visualizations a structural typology

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This paper is part of an ongoing project devoted to the investigation of the psychotropic brew Ayahuasca from a cognitive-psychological perspective. This perspective contrasts with those of practically all investigations of Ayahuasca which pertain either to the natural sciences-notably botany, pharmacology, brain science and clinical medicine-or to anthropology. Here, I discuss the visualizations induced by Ayahuasca from a structural, as opposed to contentual, point of view. A typology of the structural forms in which visualizations may appear is drawn. Also examined are the various types of interaction a person can have with his/her visions and aspects pertaining to the semantics of visions and their narrative structure. The distinctions drawn are readily applicable to hallucinatory and visionary experiences induced by other agents and in other contexts. Thus, the present typology may be regarded as presenting the foundations for the cognitive-psychological study of such experiences at large.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: B. Shanon, Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Email:

Publication date: February 1, 2002


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