Trance states: a theoretical model and cross-cultural analysis

Ethos Vol/Iss. 14(2) American Anthropological Association Published In Pages: 174-203
By Winkelman, Michael James


Possession trance beliefs in the context of religious practitioner training will be associated with higher social complexity


Social complexity as measured by political integration, population density, and social stratification. Possession trance beliefs were found to be positively associated with political integration (tau= .60), population density (tau= .45), and social stratification (tau= .35). In an ANOVA test, all three social complexity variables were found to be predictive of the possession and possession scale variables (p < .001). All three variables included account for 49% of variance in the possession variable, and 42% of variance in the possession scale variable. However, "only political integration has a significant predictive power beyond the main effects and interactions, and only in regression on the possession variable". Lastly, the relationship between the possession variables and political integration held, controlling on language and spatial distance.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
CorrelationSupportedp < .001Multiple tau valuesUNKNOWN