posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 10:40 PM
I read (once upon a time) an excellent research article done in Israel by a psychologist who interviewed around 50 individuals and they were asked to
recount their most unusual personal experiences. Then they were to read and rate the other's experiences within the group. The results were that
while rating their own experiences as very probable, they tended to dismiss the other's experiences in the group as improbable.
I feel that this is largely due to the fact that people who have these anomalous personal experiences have a hard time describing them accurately.
When I interview people, I generally may spend several hours talking to them and inevitably more and more detail arises as the narrative is expanded
into the greater context of the situation. This is a normal process which adhears to what is known as the Labovian Model of the Oral Personal
Narrative. Dr. Labov
is a professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. His works
in the area of personal narratives is outstanding.
Here is an outline of one of his papers on Narrative pre-construction
Before a narrative can be constructed, it must be pre-constructed by a cognitive process that begins with a decision that a given event is reportable.
Pre-construction begins with this most reportable event and proceeds backwards in time to locate events that are linked causally each to the following
one, a recursive process that ends with the location of the unreportable event--one that is not reportable in itself and needs no explanation.
Comparison of such event chains with the sequence of narrative clauses actually produced will help to understand how the narrator re-organizes and
transforms the events of real time in the finished narrative
In short, brief summations of anomalous personal experiences generally lack believability because of the fact that very much of the details of the
experience has been left out, or that in the narrative's pre-conception phase details that are not considered relevant by the informant are left out.
This is why two people can have identical anomalous experiences and recount them to one another, with neither one identifying the experience as
identical. It is very critical to understand this pre-conception phase when investigating like-phenomena.