The Characteristics of Exceptional Human Experiences

January 1, 2019
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Sagher, A., Butzer, B., & Wahbeh, H. (2019). The characteristics of exceptional human experiences. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 26(11-12), 203-237.

Exceptional human experiences (EHEs) have garnered increasing research attention, particularly with regard to the characteristics and potential functional aspects of these experiences. The current study sought to replicate and expand upon previous research on EHEs by using a mixed-methods approach to examine the characteristics of EHEs in a large adult sample. The participants were 869 healthy adults who completed a survey that allowed participants to share both quantitative ratings and qualitative descriptions of EHEs. The results revealed that 96.7% of respondents had experienced at least one EHE, and EHEs were generally rated as having a positive impact on the participants’ lives. Participants reported a variety of EHEs, with two primary themes emerging in the qualitative analysis: perception and function of EHEs. The results suggest that EHEs may serve a positive, functional purpose in the lives of those who experience them.

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