Can predictive coding explain past experiences?
|Type||Article in Periodical|
|Magazine / Source||Religion, Brain & Behavior|
|MU Faculty or unit|
|Field||Philosophy and religion|
|Keywords||religious experience; hierarchical predictive coding;cognitive science of religion;|
|Description||In their target article, Taves and Asprem suggest disassembling religious experiences into events, and studying the formation and interpretation of religious experiences using the approach of cognitive science. We support such an approach and especially embrace using experimental methods to better understand how religious experiences can be generated. However, we are concerned with the feasibility of using first-person narratives to reconstruct “originatory events.” The study of unusual experiences has not been prominent in the cognitive science of religion (CSR), as the authors note, because of “the difficulties inherent in the use of first-person narratives.” Although Taves and Asprem try to address some of these difficulties (e.g., bias in recollecting past events), there is a host of remaining issues that might significantly impede the attempt to rehabilitate the first-person accounts as a prime data source for CSR. We identify and outline three crucial problems and suggest that clarifying these issues might advance the approach proposed by Taves and Asprem.|