Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief

Dimitrios Kapogiannis, Aron K. Barbey, Michael Su, Giovanna Zamboni, Frank Krueger, Jordan Grafman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

154 Scopus citations

Abstract

We propose an integrative cognitive neuroscience framework for understanding the cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief. Our analysis reveals 3 psychological dimensions of religious belief (God's perceived level of involvement, God's perceived emotion, and doctrinal/experiential religious knowledge), which functional MRI localizes within networks processing Theory of Mind regarding intent and emotion, abstract semantics, and imagery. Our results are unique in demonstrating that specific components of religious belief are mediated by well-known brain networks, and support contemporary psychological theories that ground religious belief within evolutionary adaptive cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4876-4881
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume106
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 24 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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