abstract Michiel Van Elk

Michiel Van Elk (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

The cognitive science of religion and spirituality

In this talk I will present recent data from an ongoing research project on the cognitive science of religion and spirituality. By using a ‘building block approach’ to the study of religion, different key processes will be identified that play a role in supernatural beliefs and experiences. I will discuss behavioral experiments on the relation between supernatural beliefs, perceptual biases and agency detection, the development of magical thinking in children, neuroimaging studies on perspective taking and spiritual experiences and studies on the relation between rituals and peripersonal space.