It’s Not “All in Your Head”: Understanding Religion From an Embodied Cognition Perspective

Tamer M. Soliman, Kathryn A. Johnson, Hyunjin Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theorists and researchers in the psychology of religion have often focused on the mind as the locus of religion. In this article, we suggest an embodied cognition perspective as a new dimension in studies of religion as a complement to previous research and theorizing. In contrast to the Cartesian view of the mind operating distinctly from the body, an embodied cognition framework posits religion as being grounded in an integrated and dynamic sensorimotor complex (which includes the brain). We review relevant but disparate literature in cognitive and social psychology to demonstrate that embodied cognition shapes the way that people represent the divine and other spiritual beings, guides people’s moral intuitions, and facilitates bonding within religious groups. Moreover, commitments to a religious worldview are sometimes manifested in the body. We suggest several promising future directions in the study of religion from an embodied cognition perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-864
Number of pages13
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015

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Keywords

  • embodied cognition
  • god representations
  • moral intuitions
  • religion
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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