What are the differences between experiences that people consider spiritual and experiences that they consider enjoyable? Participants were asked to provide autobiographical narratives of either spiritual or enjoyable experiences and the two types of narratives were compared. In Study 1 (n = 142) the differences between the narratives was established via judge-based thematic content analysis. In Study 2 (n = 174) differences were established by the use of linguistic analysis software. Across both studies spiritual experiences were more likely to involve tragedy and less likely to mention social relationships or materialistic pursuits. Hence spiritual experiences are described as triggered by tragedy reflect greater social isolation and less materialistic than enjoyable experiences.
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