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Widely regarded as the definitive reference, this volume comprehensively examines the psychological processes associated with religion and spirituality. Leading scholars from multiple psychological subdisciplines present developmental, cognitive, social psychological, cultural, and clinical perspectives on this core aspect of human experience. The forms and functions of religious practices and rituals, conversion experiences, and spiritual struggles are explored. Other key topics include religion as a meaning system, religious influences on prosocial and antisocial behavior, and connections to health, coping, and psychotherapy.
Why have religious beliefs and behaviors been nearly universal in human societies? What accounts for similarities and differences across time and across cultures? Could the answer lie in the human brain? Scholars in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) believe that it can- the prevalence of religion is a result of the way our minds work. CSR advances in psychology explain various patterns in religious thought and action. This scientific approach has grown rapidly over the past couple of decades. However, it has often been conflated with related subjects such as evolution and neuroscience. CSR is neither: it straddles the line between cognitive sciences and the study of religion. The Oxford Handbook of the Cognitive Science of Religion directly identifies CSR's unique contributions and clarifies its relationship to neighboring disciplines. With contributions from the field's founders and its rising stars, this volume offers a critical overview of more than 25 years of research. From discussions of human nature to the role of ritual, the contributors offer comprehensive and in-depth analysis of key questions in CSR. Readers will have a variety of entry points to truly grasp where CSR has been, where it is, and where it might go.
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Religious Experience, now updated and expanded in a new edition, updates key topics covered in the first edition including: decentering and self-transformation, supernatural agent cognitions, mystical states, religious language, ritualization, and religious group agency. It expands upon the first edition to include major findings on brain and religious experience over the past decade, focusing on methodology, future thinking, and psychedelics. It provides an up-to-date review of brain-based accounts of religious experiences, and systematically examines the rationale for utilizing neuroscience approaches to religion. While it is primarily intended for religious studies scholars, people interested in comparative religion, philosophy of religion, cultural evolution, and personal self-transformation will find an account of how such transformation is accomplished within religious contexts.
Does religion positively affect well-being? What leads to fundamentalism? Do religious beliefs make us more moral? The Psychology of Religion explores the often contradictory ideas people have about religion and religious faiths, spirituality, fundamentalism, and atheism. The book examines whether we choose to be religious, or whether it is down to factors such as genes, environment, personality, cognition, and emotion. It analyses religion's effects on morality, health, and social behavior and asks whether religion will survive in our modern society. Offering a balanced view, The Psychology of Religion shows that both religiosity and atheism have their own psychological costs and benefits, with some of them becoming more salient in certain environments.
This book offers an in-depth exploration of the burgeoning field of meaning in life in the psychological sciences, covering conceptual and methodological issues, core psychological mechanisms, environmental, cognitive and personality variables and more.