Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 70 Issue 2 (June 1997), Pages 113-207

Features associated with speaking in tongues (glossolalia) (pages 185-191)

Reports of the frequency, context, associated behaviours, feelings and meaning associated with glossolalia were collected from three groups of informants: speakers (N = 14, who practised glossolalia), witnesses (N = 15, who had witnessed but had never practised glossolalia), and controls (N = 16, who had neither witnessed nor practised glossolalia). All informants were practising Christians. Speakers reported glossolalia as a regular, daily, private activity, usually accompanying mundane activities, as a special form of prayer associated with calm, pleasant emotions. By contrast, witnesses and controls were more likely to describe glossolalia as an exceptional activity, usually occurring in the religious group, and associated with excitement. The views of witnesses were closer to those of speakers than were the views of controls. It is suggested that there may be two types of glossolalia, of which one is more likely to be associated with psychopathology.

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