Revelatory Experiences:
perspectives from neuroscience, psychiatry, and the humanities

Institute of Psychiatry Conference, 9.30 – 5.30 Friday 23 March 2012

Mental health professionals frequently encounter people who report experiences of God or supernatural beings speaking or acting through them to reveal important truths. In some cases it is difficult to know to what extent such experiences are best explained as ‘illness’, or repre-sent experiences which are accepted and valued within a person’s religious or cultural context. Indeed, revelatory experiences form a key part of the formation and development of major world religions through figures such as prophets, visionaries, and yogins, as well as in the reli-gious practice of shamans and others in traditional smaller scale societies. Why are revelatory experiences and related altered states of consciousness so common across cultures and his-tory? What neural and other processes cause them? When should they be thought of as due to mental illness, as opposed to culturally accepted religious experience? And what value should or can be placed upon them? In this one day conference leading scholars from neuroscience, psychiatry, theology and religious studies, history and anthropology gather to present recent findings, and debate with each other and the audience about these fundamental aspects of hu-man experience.

Who should attend: This one day interdisciplinary conference will be useful to academic psy-chologists, neuroscientists and humanities scholars interested in understanding the possibilities for interdisciplinary understanding of complex human behaviour; as well as psychiatrists, clini-cal psychologists, nurses and any professionals whose work requires them to make sense of the relations between culture, religion, and mental health.

For more details, including the full list of speakers and information on how to register, please visit the IoP web site.


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