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'Hearing is Believing': Amazonian Trickster Myths as Folk Psychological Narratives

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This essay explores cultural and psychological dynamics in indigenous Amazonian narratives about a powerful trickster figure named Made-from-Bone. Particular attention is given to the ways in which speaking verbs, quoted speeches, and dialogical interactions are used as psychological tools for understanding and explaining others'inner thoughts and emotions. Comparative analysis of two narratives set in the distant mythical past demonstrates how intentionality is a semiotic ideology that emerges through dialogical interaction. These narrative practices are deeply rooted in shamanic healing practices, especially the use of musical and other symbolic sound elements as a privileged sense modality for expressing and experiencing psychological processes of making dreams, emotions, and inner thoughts into objects of conscious thought and discourse.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Anthropology, Mail Code 4502, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901 USA., Email:

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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