Presentation: Computational Modeling of Cognitive and Psychological Theories of Religion

Research Associates LeRon Shults and Uffe Schjodt
International Association for the Psychology of Religion: Culture, Context and Existential Challenges
August 23, 2017

Conference Summary: The International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR) holds bi-annual conferences that serve as a meeting point for scholars from all over the world to share the latest research findings in the field. We are pleased and honoured to announce that the IAPR Conference 2017 will be held in Hamar, Norway and will take place in August 21st -24th. An overarching theme for the conference is Culture, Context and Existential Challenges. The keynote speakers are Dr. Valerie DeMarinisDr Kenneth I. PargamentDr. Mohammad Khodayarifard, and Dr. Tatjana Schnell. They are all world leading researchers in psychology, religion and spirituality, culture and existential meaning-making. 

Panel Abstract: The study of religious phenomena faces several obstacles. Laboratory experiments allow for controlled environments, but control often comes at the expense of external validity. Adapting experimental techniques to the study of real-life religious experience improves external validity, but lacks the control of the laboratory. When studying religious experience in the field, we often alter these experiences, making them “less real.” In both laboratory and field settings, we study religion at the level of individuals, yet religious groups have properties that are more than the sum of individual measures. Participants in this panel will discuss their recent attempts to overcome these methodological trade-offs. Speakers will describe the use of computer modeling to study religion at multiple levels, the costs and benefits of physiological and self-report measures on a naturally occurring ritual, and census experimentation as an alternative for standard experimentation.

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