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In Gods We TrustThe Evolutionary Landscape of Religion$
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Scott Atran

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178036

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178036.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2022

Waves of Passion

Waves of Passion

The Neuropsychology of Religion

(p.174) 7 Waves of Passion
In Gods We Trust


Oxford University Press

In every society, the auditory and visual hallucinations that our medical establishment associates with certain forms of temporal lobe epilepsy and schizophrenia often take on a religious color. They become the “voices” and “visions” of personal revelation for the subjects themselves and, depending on the society, they may become the charge of local religion as well. This chapter provides accounts of visual and auditory hallucinations among some of history's leading religious converts and mystics intimate possible temporal lobe epilepsy. It also provides a comparison of religious experience with temporal lobe brain wave patterns during epileptic seizures and acute schizophrenic episodes. Cognitive structures of the human mind/brain in general, and cognitions of agency in particular, are usually represented in these studies in simpleminded terms (e.g., binary oppositions, holistic vs. analytical tensions, hierarchical organization) that have little input from, or pertinence to, recent findings of cognitive and developmental psychology.

Keywords:   sensory brain structures, epilepsy, schizophrenia, visual hallucinations, neuropsychology, religion, experimental psychology

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