Introduction to Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind


  • Ismael Apud Universidad de la República



Religious Cognition, Psychopathology, Maturationally Natural System, religion


In the book Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind, McCauley and Graham present a novel contribution to the Cognitive Science of Religion. The authors propose a naturalistic, pluralistic, and interdisciplinary approach to analyze the continuities between normal cognition, religious cognition, and abnormal cognition. McCauley and Graham use the idea of maturationally natural systems to understand different religious “abnormal” experiences: hearing voices from God or other spiritual beings, mood disorders caused by a failure in petitionary prayer, religious scrupulosity and its resemblance with Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms, and the “mindblind atheism” of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Despite some minor weaknesses, e.g., an excessive use of maturationally natural systems to explain religious phenomena, the book is an important contribution to the Cognitive Science of Religion.


Allen, P., Louise C., Fu, C., Broome, M., Vythelingum, G. & McGuire, P. (2004). Misattribution of external speech in patients with hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia Research, 69(2–3), 277–287. DOI:

Barnes, J. (2015). Neuropsychological approaches to understanding visual hallucinations. In D. Collerton, U. Mosimann, & E. Perry (Eds.). The neuroscience of visual hallucinations (pp. 193–215). Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. DOI:

Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Hellyer, P., Shanahan, M., Feilding, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Chialvo, D., & Nutt, D. (2014). The entropic brain: A theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(20), 1–22. DOI:

Horgan, J. (2006). The search for the terrorist personality. In A. Silke (Ed.). Terrorists, victims and society: Psychological perspectives on terrorism and its consequences (pp. 3–28). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

McCauley, R., & Graham, G. (2020). Hearing voices and other matters of the mind: What mental abnormalities can teach us about religions. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI:

McKenna, D, & Riba, J. (2018). New World tryptamine hallucinogens and the neuroscience of ayahuasca. Current Topics on Behavioral Neuroscience, 36, 283–311. DOI:



How to Cite

Apud, I. . (2021). Introduction to Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 7(1), 3–8.



Book Panel