Shanon, Benny

Shanon, Benny (1948– ) – Professor of psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in the study of human consciousness, cognitive processes, and the philosophy of psychology. Shanon’s particular interests in the phenomenology of consciousness have led him to research the Amazonian psychoactive brew ayahuasca and the special altered state of consciousness it induces. His writing carefully documents and reflects on his own experiences and those of many other people following the ingestion of ayahuasca. The main aim of his research is a systematic charting of the phenomenology of the ayahuasca experience to characterize it from a cognitive psychological perspective. Philosophical ramifications are discussed as well. Shanon does not espouse common accounts of the effects of ayahuasca in terms of paranormal abilities and instead characterizes these effects as manifestations of unusual enhancement of cognitive functioning, creativity, and intuition. Empirically, his investigation highlights the significant interpersonal commonalities exhibited by the contents and themes of ayahuasca visions, as well as the ideations associated with them.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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