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Psychology of Religion and Neurobiology: Which Relationship?

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Given that (a) psychologists of religion as a scientific community so far have shown little interest in neurobiology, and (b) neurobiology may become important for our field in the not too distant future, an attempt is made to present and discuss neurobiology and its conceivable interactions with psychology of religion. The long-standing debate about the philosophical grounding of the mind-body problem is recalled, as well as the scope of neurobiology and its research methods. Psychology of religion may assist neurobiology by providing research data that could serve as material for constructing testable neurobiological hypotheses, data resulting, for instance, from studying an individual's perception of God and the numinous, the psychological characteristics of meditation, deep prayer, contemplation, etc. Psychology of religion could benefit from neurobiology, (a) for assessing differing theoretical concepts regarding, for instance, religious experiences, and (b) for constructing dynamic models of religious development. Possible roadblocks on the way to connecting psychology of religion and neurobiology are pointed out and literature for further reading is provided.


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