Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion <p><em>Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion</em>&nbsp;is the official journal of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR).</a>&nbsp;The Association was founded in 2006 and since then has sponsored a number of international collaborative projects and biennial conferences.</p> Equinox Publishing Ltd. en-US Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion 2049-7555 <p>Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> The Cognitive Science of Religion Armin W. Geertz Valerie van Mulukom Kristoffer Laigaard Nielbo Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 1 4 10.1558/jcsr.40479 The Cognitive Science of Imagination and Religion <p>Religion and imagination both deal with what is beyond theempirical here and now. In this article, I will argue that imaginationas a capacity is highly important for the development, maintenance,and evolution of religion and the variety of componentsthat together make a religion: (Religious) belief, religious cognitionbroadly, religious events such as miracles, religious agentssuch as deities, religious rituals and experiences, religious textsand narratives, and finally religious art and creativity. I will arguethat the cognitive science of imagination can crucially shed lighton various aspects of religion that previously may have seemedunrelated, and that in fact, perceiving, remembering, and imaginingmay not be as distinct processes from each other as wemight have thought, and indicate what consequences these suggestionsmay have for beliefs as we understand them.</p> Valerie van Mulukom Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 5 20 10.1558/jcsr.39503 Some, But Not All, Children Believe in Miracles <p>Recent findings have shown that young children resemble adults in claiming that events which violate causal laws cannot happen. Indeed, young children are especially conservative. They claim that even highly improbable events, such as finding an alligator under one’s bed, cannot happen. Children make use of this knowledge about possibility and impossibility in assessing the status of a narrative. When presented with narratives that include extraordinary or magical possibilities, children typically judge them to be fictional narratives rather than genuinely factual accounts. However, despite their doubts about any radical departure from the ordinary course of events, some young children believe in various extraordinary or miraculous possibilities. They accept that God has special powers, unlike ordinary mortals. In addition, when presented with narratives that include miraculous events, they often claim that the narrative is an account of what truly happened rather than being purely fictional. We discuss the origins and scope of this apparent tension between a naturalistic stance and a belief in the miraculous.</p> Paul L. Harris Kathleen H. Corriveau Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 21 36 10.1558/jcsr.37343 Tell Me a Story <p>Sacred stories and religious texts play a central role in religion, yetthere is a paucity of research investigating the relationship betweenreligiosity and individual differences in how people engage with stories.Here, we examine the relationship between religiosity, as well asa belief in God, and three variables related to how individuals interactwith narratives: a tendency to become absorbed in stories (transportability),a tendency to form relationships with the characters in stories(parasociability), and a reluctance to imaginatively engage withimmoral fictions (imaginative resistance). Although transportabilitywas only weakly related to intrinsic religiosity, both parasociability andimaginative resistance were correlated with a range of religiosity measures.Notably, the relationship between parasociability and religiositywas mediated by personal involvement with religious texts.</p> Jessica E. Black Molly Oberstein-Allen Jennifer L. Barnes Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 37 62 10.1558/jcsr.37491 Absorption, Mentalizing, and Mysticism <p>Research suggests trait absorption, individual differences in Theoryof Mind (ToM), and orthopraxical training are importantfor explaining a variety of extraordinary experiences typicallyassociated with religion. However, no studies exist quantifyingToM ability or testing its relationship with trait absorption inthe prediction of what is arguably the most ubiquitous type ofextraordinary experience-the mystical experience. To addressthis, two exploratory studies were conducted using a sample ofmeditators (N = 269) and undergraduate students (N = 123). Instudy one, regression analyses revealed weekly religious/spiritualpractice, absorption, and mentalizing predict increased mysticalexperiences. Moreover, moderation analysis indicated theabsorption-mysticism relationship is stronger among individualswith lower mentalizing ability. Study two only replicated therelationship of absorption and weekly practice with mysticism.These studies highlight the robust contribution of absorption inmystical experiences and suggest a more dynamic role for mentalizingthan is accounted for in the current literature.</p> Thomas J. Coleman III James E. Bartlett Jenny M. Holcombe Sally B. Swanson Andrew Atkinson Christopher F. Silver Ralph W. Hood Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 63 84 10.1558/jcsr.37551 Reimagining the Imaginaries <p>A number of scholars of nonreligion and secularity have argued inrecent years for the need to get beyond the neat binaries and the negativeidentities signaled by atheism and agnosticism (e.g. Taves et al.2018). However, these binaries are deeply ingrained in the landscapeof ideas that have shaped the way we do scholarship. I will explore theEnlightenment sense of "excarnation" found in the CSR approachesto (non)religion, and will discuss what has contributed to it being"too much mind, and not enough brain, body, and culture," as ArminGeertz (2010) sums it up.Charles Taylor in his seminal work A Secular Age (2007) makes afamous case against the "subtraction stories" expressed in the popularnarrative as a mere reduction of religious belief. Taylor's interpretationinvolves the radical transformation of the social imaginaries that shapethe way we conceptualize the world we inhabit. Conceptualizingimaginaries as a way of collective production of sense offers a helpfulway of engaging with the question of how differently historied bodiescome to experience and engage with the world in different ways, andleads to the possibility of thinking about the role imaginaries play inreligious experience. In this essay, I will argue for the use of the socialimaginaries as a conceptual tool that contributes to our understandingof local theories of mind, offers a helpful contribution to the bioculturaltheory of (non)religion and functions as a bridge between itscognitive and affective elements.</p> Mari Ovsepyan Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 85 99 10.1558/jcsr.37524 A Room of One’s Own <p>This article examines the role and function of imagination and parasocial(fiction-based) relations among autistic individuals. In interviews,seventeen high functioning, autistic young adults describe how theyfrequently absorb into daydreams, fantasy literature and multiplayeronline roleplaying games. These findings diverge from previous cognitiveresearch which suggests that imagination is limited in autisticindividuals; a conclusion which is also challenged by scholars incritical autism research. It is suggested that these opposed scholarlyviews can be bridged analytically and methodologically by separatinginterpersonal and intrapersonal imagination, of which only the former,social aspect is affected across the whole autism spectrum. Theresults indicate that parasocial relations are used both for pleasure andto cope with adversities, and that imaginary realms serve as optimalautistic spaces for simulating and practicing social interaction. Thearticle moreover provides a comparative discussion on parasocial andsupernatural relations.</p> Ingela Visuri Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-01-30 2020-01-30 5 1 100 124 10.1558/jcsr.37518