Publication details

Agency detection a náboženská zkušenost: Senzorická deprivace, prediktivní vyhodnocování a alternativní spiritualita

Title in English Agency detection and religious experience: Sensory deprivation, predictive processing, and alternative spirituality


Year of publication 2023
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Religious or spiritual experiences involving encounters with special kinds of beings occur across many world traditions and often play a central, or at least significant or even daily role. But how do they actually arise, and what potential function might they have in terms of our species' evolution? In this talk, I will introduce my dissertation project, which aims to develop a theoretical and methodological framework for studying religious experiences in the context of a cognitive-computational theory of mind called predictive processing. I will focus more closely on unusual experiences arising from sensory deprivation, specifically so-called feelings of sensed presence - that is, the feeling that we are not alone, that someone or something is in the room with us, or that we directly see and talk to various spirits, spirit guides, etc. As the primary cultural context for framing such experiences I am using the contemporary alternative spirituality. Thus, I will present the results of two empirical studies to date (an experimental one, focused on inducing a sensed presence feeling independent of the cultural background of the participants, and a field study of so-called Dark therapy, an alternative-spiritual technique based on long-term visual deprivation), along with the concepts of other planned or ongoing studies.

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