Peak Experience: The Logos Within


Karl Mischler


This study reviews literature and gathers original data regarding peak experiences. Following Bourguignon (1973), I define peak experience as a form of altered state of consciousness with distinct characteristics. I hold that it is a common and natural feature of human experience, and that this kind of event plays a key role in shaping human ideology. Peak experiences have both a biological and cultural basis. The event may be formed by temporal lobe transients (Persinger 2000), or micro seizures of the temporal lobe area of the brain, which in turn affects the frontal lobes. The response to and interpretation of this event is culture bound, and subject to the individual's personal history. The data tend to support this conclusion, with similar qualities being used to describe experiences despite occurring in a variety of triggering situations, including music, nature, athletics, intoxication, sex, and religious contemplation.


Kardulias, Nicholas


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2003 Karl Mischler