An existential perspective on the psychological function of shamans

Simon Schindler, Jeff Greenberg, Stefan Pfattheicher

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Shamans deal with events that involve the threat of death. They help buffer death anxiety because, through their claimed supernatural abilities, they can provide both hope for averting death and evidence for existence of a spirit world offering continuance beyond death. Thus, managing the threat of mortality probably played a major role in the development and maintenance of shamanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e85
JournalThe Behavioral and brain sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this