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Registered: 02/12/07
Posts: 2,274
Loc: yo mamma's house
Great apes spin around to get high * 2
    #28233100 - 03/17/23 01:28 AM (9 days, 23 hours ago)


Great Apes Alter Their Mental States By Spinning Rapidly
New research on captive apes supports what Jane Goodall observed in the wild.
Posted March 16, 2023
Reviewed by Lybi Ma
We're not alone in inducing highs.
We have a lot to learn about the emotional lives of animals during normal and altered states of consciousness.
What do these data say about the spiritual lives of great apes?
A recent open-access research paper published in the journal Primates by psychologist Adriano Lameira and linguistics professor Marcus Perlman called "Great Apes Reach Momentary Altered Mental States by Spinning" caught my attention because of the topic that was discussed for captive great apes and because of Jane Goodall's observations of similar behaviors in wild chimpanzees.1,2

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Lameira and Perlman analyzed 40 YouTube videos of 132 episodes of captive apes rope spinning, consisting of 709 rotations that mainly occurred during solitary play. They focused on the rotational speeds and duration of spinning by chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and bonobos and compared the speeds of spinning with how humans spin.

Source: From Great Apes Reach Momentary Altered Mental States by Spinning, open access
Source: From Great Apes Reach Momentary Altered Mental States by Spinning, open access
Summarizing their work Lameira and Perlman wrote, "Closer inspection of the 43 cases when individuals released the rope revealed further evidence of dizziness: In 30 of the bouts, the animal immediately sat or laid down; in seven of the bouts, the animal moved a short distance and then sat or laid down; and in only six bouts did the animal keep its balance and remain on its feet."

Spinning-induced "highs" and spirituality: We are not alone
Ishara Kasthuriarachchi/Pexels
Source: Ishara Kasthuriarachchi/Pexels
What do these data say about their spiritual lives? Do animals marvel at their surroundings, have a sense of awe when they see a rainbow, find themselves by a waterfall, or ponder their environs? Do they ask where does lightning come from? Do they go into a "zone" when they play with others, forgetting about everything else save for the joy of playing?

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The data collected in this study are interesting and important. The researchers note, "Our findings show that great apes spin at speeds that induce physiological 'highs' in humans." They also suggest, "like humans, great apes voluntarily seek and engage in altered experiences of self-perception and situational awareness."

Their data and discussions reminded me of Jane Goodall's observations of wild chimpanzees engaging in what she called "waterfall dances."2 Goodall wondered whether these dances are indicative of religious behavior, precursors of religious ritual. She describes a chimpanzee approaching one of these falls with slightly bristled hair, a sign of heightened arousal: "As he gets closer, and the roar of the falling water gets louder, his pace quickens, his hair becomes fully erect, and upon reaching the stream he may perform a magnificent display close to the foot of the falls. Standing upright, he sways rhythmically from foot to foot, stamping in the shallow, rushing water, picking up and hurling great rocks. This 'waterfall dance' may last 10 or 15 minutes."

Chimpanzees also dance at the onset of heavy rains and during violent gusts of wind. Goodall asks, "Is it not possible that these performances are stimulated by feelings akin to wonder and awe? After a waterfall display, the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water. What is it, this water?" In June 2006, Jane and I visited the Mona Foundation’s chimpanzee sanctuary near Girona, Spain. We were told that Marco, one of the rescued chimpanzees, does a dance during thunderstorms in which he looks like he’s in a trance.

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These are wonderful and important questions and my observations of many different wild animals as well as companion dogs has made me ask similar questions. My own and other dogs often stare into space for minutes on end and always wonder what they’re thinking and feeling. Some years ago, a woman at a local dog park asked me similar questions and told me her dog Maxine looked mesmerized and “locked into” sunsets of a particular kind—when there was an orange sun highlighted against milky white clouds—and Maxine never showed such focus and awe for other sunsets.

Goodall admits that she’d love to get into their minds even for a few moments. I would too and would love to know what Maxine was thinking and feeling when she saw specific sunsets. It would be worth years of research to discover what animals see and feel when they look at the stars.

Perhaps numerous animals engage in these rituals but we haven't been lucky enough to see them. Even if they are rare, they are important to note and study. I hope to see more research on this fascinating and important topic.

It's highly likely we are not alone in the arena of intentionally induced altered states of consciousness. We still have much to learn about the emotional lives of animals during normal and altered states of consciousness.


1) The abstract for this paper reads: Among animals, humans stand out in their consummate propensity to self-induce altered states of mind. Archaeology, history, and ethnography show these activities have taken place since the beginnings of civilization, yet their role in the emergence and evolution of the human mind itself remains debatable. The means through which modern humans actively alter their experience of self and reality frequently depend on psychoactive substances, but it is uncertain whether psychedelics or other drugs were part of the ecology or culture of pre-human ancestors. Moreover, (nonhuman) great apes in captivity are currently being retired from medical research, rendering comparative approaches thus far impracticable. Here, we circumvent this limitation by harnessing the breadth of publicly available YouTube data to show that apes engage in rope spinning during solitary play. When spinning, the apes achieved speeds sufficient to alter self-perception and situational awareness that were comparable to those tapped for transcendent experiences in humans (e.g. Sufi whirling), and the number of revolutions spun predicted behavioural evidence for dizziness. Thus, spinning serves as a self-sufficient means of changing body-mind responsiveness in hominids. A proclivity for such experiences is shared between humans and great apes. It provides an entry point for the comparative study of the mechanisms, functions, and adaptive value of altered states of mind in human evolution.

2) Jane Goodall. Primate spirituality. In The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. edited by B. Taylor. Thoemmes Continuum, New York. Pp. 1303-1306. 2005. (Frankly, I was surprised not to see a reference to Goodall's seminal observations. I only mention this because of numerous emails in which people asked me about the relationship of this study of captive apes to Goodall's observations in the wild.)

Great apes deliberately spin to become dizzy, say researchers.

Do Animals Have Spiritual Experiences? Yes, They Do.

If you can’t tell what you desperately need, it’s probably sleep.

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Registered: 01/02/23
Posts: 282
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: jack_straw2208]
    #28233261 - 03/17/23 07:10 AM (9 days, 18 hours ago)

Maybe they just prepping for a job at the space station. Whenever I see kids doing it though I say I see a sugar fien.

Just a man, not a very interesting one at that either

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 16,687
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: jack_straw2208]
    #28233447 - 03/17/23 09:13 AM (9 days, 16 hours ago)

I can understand why apes in captivity enjoy getting high to relieve the boredom and lack of stimulation.

But many non human animals like to get high:

House cats, of course, love catnip.
Jaguars will eat yagé vine, the harmala component of ayahuasca.
Elephants will seek out fermented fruits to get drunk.
Wallabies in Australia enjoy the opiate high from poppies.
Bighorn sheep eat psychedelic lichen in the Canadian Rockies.
and many more, my favorite being -
Dolphins that will pass around a toxic pufferfish for a hallucinogenic high.

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I want shrooms
I'm a teapot User Gallery

Registered: 02/05/23
Posts: 1,430
Loc: Natsheeklia
Last seen: 57 minutes, 3 seconds
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: veggie]
    #28233463 - 03/17/23 09:30 AM (9 days, 15 hours ago)

I feel rather altered when I am on the gravitron or a tire swing!

ElPenisGigantico is HamiltonMorris: an Investigative Journal :pm:SEEKING REGULAR ATTENDEES OF TEXAS’ PLANTERSVILLE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL:pm:
OTD Ban Leads to Nocturnal Emissions: A Retrospective Apology

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Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 1,557
Loc: The Swamp
Last seen: 16 hours, 30 minutes
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: NotSheekle]
    #28238113 - 03/20/23 01:47 PM (6 days, 11 hours ago)

Someone needs to stop these apes from abusing gravity...they most certainly should not be allowed to “get high”..

Trading Prints

-Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could listen twice as much as we speak-

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Registered: 07/25/04
Posts: 16,687
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: TheShroomanizer]
    #28240423 - 03/21/23 08:37 PM (5 days, 4 hours ago)

This was started as a new thread by morrowasted. Just adding it here to the existing post to keep things consolidated ...


morrowasted said:

Why do humans like to get high? Apes who spin themselves dizzy might offer clues

Great apes deliberately spin themselves in order make themselves dizzy, academics at the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham have discovered.
The findings could provide clues about the role of altered mental states for origins of the human mind.

Dr Adriano Lameira, Associate Professor of Psychology at The University of Warwick who co-led the study said: “Every culture has found a way of evading reality through dedicated and special rituals, practices, or ceremonies. This human trait of seeking altered states is so universal, historically, and culturally, that it raises the intriguing possibility that this is something that has been potentially inherited from our evolutionary ancestors.

“If this was indeed the case, it would carry huge consequences on how we think about modern human cognition capacities and emotional needs.”

The research team came across a viral video of a male gorilla spinning in a pool, and as they continued researching YouTube, came across more videos of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans all engaging in spinning behaviours.

Through analysing over 40 online videos, the researchers found that on average the primates revolved 5.5 times per episode of spinning, with the average speed 1.5 revolutions per second and the primates did this on average three times.

Researchers compared great ape spinning speeds and found that they can spin while holding on a rope as fast as professional human dancers and circus artists, as well as Dervish muslims who take part in whirling ceremonies to achieve a spiritual trance.

Dr Lameira explained: “Spinning alters our state of consciousness, it messes up with our body-mind responsiveness and coordination, which make us feel sick, lightheaded, and even elated as in the case on children playing in merry-go-rounds, spinner-wheels, and carousels.

“What we wanted to try to understand through this study is whether spinning can be studied as a primordial behaviour that human ancestors would have been able to autonomously engage in and tap into other states of consciousness. If all great apes seek dizziness, then our ancestors are also highly likely to have done so.

“We asked ourselves what role these behaviours play when it comes to the origins of the human mind.

“The apes were doing this purposefully, almost as if they were dancing – a known mechanism in humans that universally facilitates mood regulation, social bonding and heightens the senses and is based on rotation movements. The parallel between what the apes were doing and what humans do was beyond coincidental.”

In many of the videos, the primates were using ropes or vines to spin, and it was in these videos where they were spinning the fastest and for the longest amounts of time.

The research team analysed the videos and compared it to videos of purposeful human pirouettes, for example, ballet dancing, traditional Hopak dancing, whirling dervishes and aerial silks performances.

The team then self-experimented spinning at these speeds and times and found it difficult to achieve the third bout of spins at these speeds, as great apes did. Apes were noticeably dizzy at that point in the videos, and they were likely to lose their balance and fall down.

“This would indicate that the primates deliberately keep spinning, despite starting to feel the effects of dizziness, until they are unable to keep their balance any longer.” explained Dr Marcus Perlman, Lecturer at the Department of English Language and Linguistics of The University of Birmingham who co-led of the research.

Previous studies which attempted to understand human motivation for self-inducing dizziness focused on substance use such as alcohol or drugs, but it is uncertain whether these or other substances would have been accessible to human ancestors, either because those substances were not available in their environment or because individuals and communities didn’t have the technical and cultural knowledge to produce or process psychoactive substances. Scientists say this new study could be more relevant to explain the role of altered states on the evolution of the human mind.

“The further back in human history you look, the less certain we can be about the role that substance-induced experiences played in our evolution. It’s not clear whether our ancestors had access to mind altering substances, or if they had the tools and knowledge to create the substance.

“For example, people may have had access to grapes, but you cannot assume they have the tools or the knowledge to create wine,” Dr Lameira explained.

Scientists say that further research is needed to understand primates’ motivations for engaging in these behaviours, to understand why our own ancestors might also have been driven to seek out these spinning and mind-altering experiences.

Dr Lameira adds: “There could be a link to mental health here, as the primates we observed engaging in this behaviour were mostly captive individuals, who may be bored and trying to stimulate their senses in some way.

“But it could also be a play behaviour. If you think about a child’s playground, almost all the playground apparatus – swings, slides, seesaws and roundabouts or merry-go-rounds – they are all designed to challenge your balance or disrupt the body-mind responses.

“There are some interesting parallels that should be investigated further, in order to understand why people are motivated to engage in these behaviours. It could very well be that we have been seeking and engaging in mind-altering experiences before we were even modern humans.”

The paper, ‘Great apes reach momentary altered mental states by spinning’, is published in Primates.

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Nutritional Yeast

Registered: 03/28/15
Posts: 15,092
Last seen: 2 days, 1 hour
Re: Great apes spin around to get high [Re: jack_straw2208]
    #28241242 - 03/22/23 11:53 AM (4 days, 13 hours ago)

Interesting, I remember reading something by Andrew Weil years ago about how children spin in order to induce altered states of consciousness, many people believe that the need to alter how we perceive the world might help us deal with certain stressors or boredom. 

If we're hardwired to get high since we're children, then how does that fit into the legal issues of certain substances? 

Sorry Judge but I am hardwired to get high by evolution.

I wonder how someone might use this line of thinking in a court of law...

If I swore on a Bible to tell the truth and believe the world is a creation of a creator (God), then God wants me to get high which is why I am hardwired to seek certain experiences.  Does getting in trouble for seeking certain experiences violate my rights?  My freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc?

Regarding children spinning, if a child is seeking the stimulation of spinning in order to relieve boredom does that mean being bored is stressful for a child?

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