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Causal Representation and Shamanic Experience

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Abstract:

Causal representation in shamanic consciousness is compared with causal representation in ordinary waking consciousness. Causal representation in shamanic experience and in ordinary waking experience can engage strategies involving attribution of intentionality (beliefs, desires, mental states), heuristics (representativeness, availability, intentionality, property transmission), and magical thinking (transmutation, similarity, thought-action fusion, contagion, illusion of control, tempting fate). Such strategies have consequences involving social biases (fundamental attribution error, correspondence bias, in-group/out-group differences, totemism), locus of control, authorship of actions, and supernaturalizing of social life. Similarities of causal representation in shamanic experience and in ordinary waking experience have implications for theories of mind and theories of causal representation, and these implications involve use of metaphor and analogy, modular processing of social information, use of behavioural criteria for mental states, differences between physical causality and social causality, property transmission in causal representation, and whether causal representation involves general or state-specific processes. Principles of causal representation in shamanic consciousness appear consistent with principles of causal representation in ordinary waking consciousness

Keywords: Causal representation; causal information; cognition; heuristics; intentional stance; magical thinking; modularity; shamanism; social attribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University, Fort, Email: timothyleehubbard@gmail.com

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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