When religious expectations dominate experience
Mysticism and Miracles is a project that investigates the concrete situations in which mystical experiences and miracles are reported. The ambition is to systematically identify, isolate, and analyze components in religious interactions that increase the probability of believers reporting such experiences. The project imports a general model of perception from the cognitive neurosciences that describes how the brain combines expectations and sensory input to form perceptions. Like hypnosis and placebo interactions, religious practices appear to include a range of techniques and contextual components that allow individual expectations, rather than actual sensory input, to dominate the perception of a situation. Mapping these components is central to the project. Observations from field studies among various religious groups in Denmark will lay the ground for a series of controlled experiments that seek to explain how situations contribute to the occurrence of these fascinating phenomena.
The project is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities (FKK)