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Supporting Evidence: New Research
Supporting Jaynes' Bicameral Mind Theory

Vestiges of Bicameralism in Pre-Literate Societies

Supporting Evidence > Vestiges of Bicameralism in Pre-Literate Societies


In his theory, Julian Jaynes describes the role hallucinations played in an earlier mentality, prior to the development of subjective consciousness. Based on Jaynes's theory, it could be predicted that hallucinations and visions could be found among pre-literate tribal peoples. This was documented in early anthropological studies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (see, for example, Primitive Mentality by Levy-Bruhl), and has since been been confirmed by more recent studies. Below is a small sample of research supporting this aspect of Jaynes's theory.


The Illusion of Reality or the Reality of Illusion: Hallucinations and Culture
Al-Issa, Ihsan. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1995, 166: 368-373.

Truth and Error
Brooks, W.K. Science, 1899, Vol. 9, No. 213 (June).

Stranger in A Strange Land (The Bicameral Mind in Africa)
Buchan, T. Zambezia, 1980, VIII (ii).

Concepts of Mental Illness Amongst the Rural Xhosa People in South Africa
Cheetham, R.W.S and R.J. Cheetham. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 1976, 10 (1): 39-45.

Some Aspects of the Soul-Concept Among the Bantu-Speaking Nguni-Tribes of South Africa
du Toit, Brian M. Anthropological Quarterly, July 1960, 33 (3): 134-142.

Conceptions of Psychosis in Four East African Societies
Edgerton, Robert B. American Anthropologist, 1966, 68 (2): 408-425.

Psychiatry with the Aborigines of West Malaysia
Kinzie, J. David and J. Malcolm Bolton. American Journal of Psychiatry, July 1973, 130: 769-773.

Psychosis or Social Sanction
Kroeber, A.L. Journal of Personality, 1940, 8 (3): 204-215.

The Role of Cultural Factors in Paranoid Psychosis among the Yoruba Tribe
Lambo, Adeoye. Journal of Mental Science, 1955, 101: 239-266.

Mental Illness Among Formosan Aborigines as Compared with the Chinese in Taiwan
Rin, H. and T.Y. Lin. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 1962, 108: 134-146.

The Hopi Indians' Mourning Hallucinations
Shen, W.W. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1986, 174 (6).

Cultural Determinants of Response to Hallucinatory Experience
Wallace, Anthony F.C. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1959, 1 (1): 58-69.