Item Details

Mentalizing Domains and Belief in God

Issue: Vol 4 No. 1 (2016) Special Issue on Evolutionary Theories of Religion

Journal: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Cognitive Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/jcsr.31063


Mentalizing, otherwise termed theory of mind or mindreading, is a cognitive ability that enables reasoning about the mental states of others and is theorized to be important for belief in supernatural agents. Further research is needed to investigate the nature of mentalizing itself and its relationship to belief in supernatural agents. The present study includes multiple measures of mentalizing enabling better examination of the relationships among these measures and their relationship to belief in supernatural agents. Two research questions are asked. First, is mentalizing a single construct, or do multiple domains of mentalizing exist? Second, are various measures of mentalizing related to belief in supernatural agents? Results reveal that some measures of mentalizing are interrelated, though not all are, and some measures are related to belief in supernatural agents. These findings suggest that arguments for the existence of a single mentalizing construct that is related to belief in supernatural beings may be insufficient.

Author: Tyler S. Greenway

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