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In chapter 8 we examinehow religion facilitates transformation fo the self using the dialogic model of the self as a frame. Cultural surround provides potential promoter positions which are then inserted as simulations into the dialogic self model which then undergoes transformation. Once again REM dreaing plays a role given its capacity for gneration of counterfactual simulations concerning the self model.
In chapter 11 we examine the neurology of religious language focusing on the role of agency is shaping core elements of religious language. Deitic space theory and speech act theory are covered as is special role of mystical experiences in idnetifying boundaries of nameability and discourse.
In chapter 10 we examine the neurology of religious ritual and ritualization rooting it in neurology of stereotypies. Evolutionary sexual conflict theory suggests sex differences in functional aspects of motor stereotypies. Ritural in OCD are xamined as are models of ritual processes such as threat detection theory.
In chapter 4 we examine evolutionary accounts of both religion and the brain including the self domestication hypothsis, sexual conflict theory, cultural evoltionary scenarios and the role of tool -making and technology.
In chapter 12 we examine the groupishness of religion. Sexual conflict theory suggests that ancient feamle dispersal patterns meant that women found themselves in low trust environments while men remained among genetic relatives. Males therefore formed task-oriented groups and religious consciousness while females tended to form and generate moralizing and punihsing ideologies.
In chapter 3 we examine recent work on the self and the divided self and how religious cognition promotes agency and unity despite divided consciousness. Divided self is traced to antagonism between maternal line vs patern line genomic aims. These antagonisms are manifested in autism sspectrum minds at one end of the spectrum and schizotypal minds/brains at th eother-each with specifc forms of religious cognition.
In chapter 9 we examine the neurology and psychology of superntural agent cognitions. We use the predicitve processing framework to identify when agency misattributions occur but find that that count cannot work for all SA cognitions. REM dreaming also generates SA cognitions
Chapter two reviews work on the decentering mechanism presented in the first edition and which is theorised to be central to religious experience. Decentering is seen as a special case of Bayesian surprise. Neurologically surprize triggers an orienting reaction composed of PGO waves and elements of REM sleep. Belief-updating during decentering includes generation of multiple counterfactual simulations to correct the error signal generated by the surprise event.
In chapter 6 we review recent work on psychedelics on brain function and on religious experiences. 5HT2A receptor signaling systems are covered as is the empirical evidence that transformative effects of psychdelics are linked to ego-dissolution and encounters with superntural agents during the experience.
Chapter one describes bakground assumptions guiding examination of the brain and religion relationship. We draw upon life history theory, evolutionary sexual conflict theory, 4E cognitive science, predicitve processing principles, “social brain” hypothesis.
In chapter 7 we review recent work on neurology of mystical experiences. Three networks: the salience network, default mode network and the fronto-pariental executive network are all implicated in appearance of mystical experiences.
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 the 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.