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Article

Rhythmic Chanting and Mystical States across Traditions

1
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
2
Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
3
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010101
Received: 9 December 2020 / Revised: 31 December 2020 / Accepted: 6 January 2021 / Published: 13 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rhythmic Motor Pattern Generation)
Chanting is a form of rhythmic, repetitive vocalization practiced in a wide range of cultures. It is used in spiritual practice to strengthen community, heal illness, and overcome psychological and emotional difficulties. In many traditions, chanting is used to induce mystical states, an altered state of consciousness characterised by a profound sense of peace. Despite the global prevalence of chanting, its psychological effects are poorly understood. This investigation examined the psychological and contextual factors associated with mystical states during chanting. Data were analyzed from 464 participants across 33 countries who regularly engaged in chanting. Results showed that 60% of participants experienced mystical states during chanting. Absorption, altruism, and religiosity were higher among people who reported mystical states while chanting compared to those who did not report mystical states. There was no difference in mystical experience scores between vocal, silent, group or individual chanting and no difference in the prevalence of mystical states across chanting traditions. However, an analysis of subscales suggested that mystical experiences were especially characterised by positive mood and feelings of ineffability. The research sheds new light on factors that impact upon chanting experiences. A framework for understanding mystical states during chanting is proposed. View Full-Text
Keywords: chanting; music; cross cultural; mystical experience; altered state; meditation; mantra; religiosity; absorption; altruism chanting; music; cross cultural; mystical experience; altered state; meditation; mantra; religiosity; absorption; altruism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Perry, G.; Polito, V.; Thompson, W.F. Rhythmic Chanting and Mystical States across Traditions. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010101

AMA Style

Perry G, Polito V, Thompson WF. Rhythmic Chanting and Mystical States across Traditions. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(1):101. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010101

Chicago/Turabian Style

Perry, Gemma, Vince Polito, and William Forde Thompson. 2021. "Rhythmic Chanting and Mystical States across Traditions" Brain Sciences 11, no. 1: 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010101

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