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Title: Religion and superstition through a cognitive perspective: examining the relationship of religious and superstitious beliefs to cognitive processes
Authors: Martin del Campo Rios, Jaime
Supervisors: Maltby, John
Fuggetta, Giorgio
Award date: 1-May-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Religion and superstition are complex constructs since they are intertwined with a variety of psychological aspects and are correlated to positive and negative-related effects. For instance, both phenomena have been associated with advantages at behavioural (i.e. performance enhancements) and cognitive levels (i.e. executive function deficits). This thesis represents a systematic attempt to study these constructs under a non-reductionist approach and emphasizes the cognitive processes. Despite underlying and behavioural similarities, both phenomena were treated as peripheral (although independent) constructs with the intention of: a) forwarding the idea that both religion and superstition can have a neuroscience edge and can be integrated thus into novel and/or well-established electrophysiological and cognitive paradigms, b) exploring the links between religious and superstitious factors (namely luck belief) in relation to behavioural performances and cognitive functions, and c) underlying the advantages of a multidimensional non-reductionist view for both constructs. Overall, results further indicated that it is necessary to treat religion and superstition as related (but not equal) multifaceted phenomena. Both negative and positive-related effects were found: physiological evidence showing a correlation between unlucky beliefs and deficits in executive functions (EFs), when comparing event-related potentials (electroencephalogram-derived technique) recorded during a Stroop task of a group associated to these beliefs; a performance enhancement effect related to the use of a religious amulet during an anagram task; finally, a high correlation between negative-oriented beliefs and EFs in a screening that was based on a battery scale containing a myriad of religious, superstitious and EF sub-factors.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Psychology
Leicester Theses

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