Varieties of religious cognition: A computational approach to self-understanding in three monotheist contexts

Zygon 45 (1):75-90 (2010)

This study considered representations of divine and human others in the self-understanding of monotheists from three religions. Self-understanding was conceptualized on the basis of semantic and episodic knowledge in narrative response data. Given the importance of social context in the formation of cognitive schemas, the project emphasized self-understanding in a comparative religious design. The sample included sixty nominated religious exemplars who responded to a structured interview. Schemas were subsequently mapped for Jews, Muslims, and Christians by comparison of self and other representations in a computational model known as latent semantic analysis (LSA). Findings indicated that representation of the divine is far removed from parents in cognitive schemas for all participants. Unlike Jews and Christians, Muslims appear to represent human others on the basis of self-understanding which principally references the divine. When considered in a computational semantic space, exemplars generally represent the self in a manner corresponding with divine and peer figures.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2010.01059.x
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Elements of Episodic Memory.Endel Tulving - 1985 - Oxford University Press.
Perceptual Symbol Systems.Lawrence W. Barsalou - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (4):577-660.

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