Dalarna University's logo and link to the university's website

du.sePublikasjoner
Endre søk
RefereraExporteraLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Referera
Referensformat
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Annet format
Fler format
Språk
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Annet språk
Fler språk
Utmatningsformat
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Varieties of Supernatural Experience: the Case of High-Functioning Autism
Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-7042-0877
2019 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

It is argued in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) that the empathic ability to ‘mindread’ others underpins  the experience of supernatural communication with gods, ghosts, and spirits. As autism is characterized by mentalizing difficulties, CSR scholars have expected autistic individuals would find supernatural agency incomprehensible. This thesis however turns the question around: why do autistic individuals engage intimately in supernatural relations, despite the social difficulties they face in everyday life?

The thesis aims to provide new insights on autistic and religious cognition through examination of supernatural descriptions provided by 17 young, high-functioning autistic adults (16–21 years of age) who label themselves as ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’. The research questions explore: (1) cognitive aspects of experienced interaction with invisible agents, compared with human interaction, (2) the prevalence of unusual embodied experiences (e.g. feeling touch and seeing visions without external input) and its role in attributions of supernatural agency, and (3) the psychological function of parasocial (fiction-based) interaction in imaginary realms.

This interdisciplinary project draws on work undertaken in the cognitive science of religion, cognitive and critical autism research, and psychological anthropology. Mixed qualitative and quantitative methods are employed to enable a kaleidoscopic outlook on the topics explored, and to promote a dialogue between idiographically and nomothetically oriented scholars. The study provides first-person perspectives on religious and autistic cognition, which is understood as dynamic interaction between embrained, embodied, encultured and situated input.

It is argued in Publication I that  ‘bodiless’ interaction facilitates mentalizing, also in relation to invisible agents, as no cross-modal synchronization of mimicry, body language and intonation is required. Publication II examines the prevalence of unusual, embodied experiences in autism, and it is proposed that supernatural attributions offer enchantment and sense-making of potentially frightening experiences. Results from Publication III suggest that  imaginary worlds and parasocial relations function as ‘simulators’ that autistic individuals use to rehearse social interaction. Publication IV offers a theoretical and methodological discussion regarding the study of atypical cognition. Importantly, this thesis illustrates that these imaginative autistic participants are not drawn to  supernatural frame- works in spite of, but because of the supernatural and parasocial characters these provide.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling tar avstamp i den hypotes inom kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning som föreslår att människors förmåga till mentalisering också ligger till grund för upplevelser av kommunikation med övernaturliga väsen, som exempelvis gudar, änglar och spöken. Då autistiska personer ofta har svårt att just läsa av andra människors avsikter har forskare utgått från att autistiska individer inte borde intressera sig för, eller förstå sig på, trosföreställningar kring andeväsen med osynliga sinnen. Den här avhandlingen vänder dock på frågan: hur kommer det sig att autistiska personer – trots utmaningar i social kommunikation med andra människor – ändå engagerar sig i övernaturliga väsen som uppfattas ha egna sinnen och viljor?

Genom att undersöka sådana föreställningar hos 17 unga vuxna (16-21 år) med högfungerade autism som alla beskriver sig själva som religiösa och/eller andliga, syftar avhandlingen till att bidra med nya insikter gällande autistisk och religiös kognition. Forskningsfrågorna undersöker: (1) kognitiva aspekter av upplevd kommunikation med osynliga aktörer, i jämförelse med mänsklig interaktion, (2) förekomsten av till synes oförklarliga, förkroppsligade upplevelser som sker utan yttre stimuli, och hur denna relaterar till upplevelser av övernaturlig agens, och (3) den psykologiska funktionen hos parasociala (fiktionsbaserade) relationer i imaginära världar.

Detta tvärvetenskapliga projekt anknyter till forskning inom kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning, kognitiv samt kritisk autismforskning, och psykologisk antropologi. Både kvalitativa och kvantitativa forskningsmetoder tillämpas för att möjliggöra en kalejdoskopisk översikt över de ämnen som utforskas, samt för att främja dialog mellan forskare inom medicinska och humanistiska forskningsdiscipliner. Avhandlingen bidrar med intervjupersoners personliga inifrånperspektiv angående autistisk och religiös kognition, som här förstås som dynamisk interaktion mellan neural, kulturell, förkroppsligad och kontextberoende information.

I Publikation I föreslås att icke-förkroppligad interaktion med exempelvis andeväsen underlättar mentalisering för autistiska individer, eftersom de i vardaglig social kommunikation och interaktion har svårt att synkronisera ansiktsuttryck, kroppsspråk och intonation. I Publikation II undersöks förekomsten av oförklarliga, kroppsliga upplevelser hos autistiska individer. Intervjupersonernas tillskrivande av övernaturlig agens analyseras som en meningsskapande funktion som både skapar förtrollning och får oförklarliga upplevelser att framstå som mindre skrämmande. Resultaten i Publikation III pekar mot att imaginära världar och parasociala relationer fungerar som ’simulatorer’ där autistiska individer konstruerar hanterbar social interaktion, vilket samtidigt bidrar med social övning. I Publikation IV diskuteras teoretiska och metodologiska aspekter kring studiet av otypisk kognition. En central slutsats är att deltagarna i studien dras till överempiriska världar just på grund av de osynliga sinnen som dessa innehåller, eftersom de är särskilt hanterbara för autistiska individer.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola , 2019. , s. 412
Emneord [en]
Autism, religious cognition, supernatural experience, invisible agency, parasocial relations, embodiment, bracketed ethnography, participatory autism research, atypical cognition
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-34859ISBN: 978-91-88663-70-2 (tryckt)ISBN: 978-91-88663-71-9 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-34859DiVA, id: diva2:1460596
Disputas
2019-06-07, MA624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2020-08-24 Laget: 2020-08-24 Sist oppdatert: 2020-08-24bibliografisk kontrollert
Delarbeid
1. Rethinking Autism, Theism, and Atheism: Bodiless Agents and Imaginary Realities
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Rethinking Autism, Theism, and Atheism: Bodiless Agents and Imaginary Realities
2018 (engelsk)Inngår i: Archive for the Psychology of Religion/ Archiv für Religionspsychologie, ISSN 0084-6724, E-ISSN 1573-6121, Vol. 40, nr 1, s. 1-31Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

This anthropologically informed study explores descriptions of communication with invisible, superhuman agents in high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum. Based on material from interviews, two hypotheses are formulated. First, autistic individuals may experience communication with bodiless agents (e.g., gods, angels, and spirits) as less complex than interaction with peers, since it is unrestricted by multisensory input, such as body language, facial expressions, and intonation. Second, descriptions of how participants absorb into “imaginary realities” suggest that such mental states are desirable due to qualities that facilitate social cognition: While the empirical world comes through as fragmented and incoherent, imaginary worlds offer predictability, emotional coherence, and benevolent minds. These results do not conform to popular expectations that autistic minds are less adapted to experience supernatural agents, and it is instead argued that imaginative, autistic individuals may embrace religious and fictive agents in search for socially and emotionally comprehensible interaction.

Emneord
religion; autism; superhuman agents; mentalizing abilities; imagination; emotional coherence; fantasy proneness; multisensory binding
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:du-34862 (URN)10.1163/15736121-12341348 (DOI)000434436000001 ()2-s2.0-85048224782 (Scopus ID)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2018-05-22 Laget: 2020-08-24 Sist oppdatert: 2020-08-24bibliografisk kontrollert
2. Sensory supernatural experiences in autism
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Sensory supernatural experiences in autism
2020 (engelsk)Inngår i: Religion, Brain & Behavior, ISSN 2153-599X, E-ISSN 2153-5981, Vol. 10, nr 2, s. 151-165Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines attribution of supernatural agency in 17 Swedish, high-functioning young adults on the autism spectrum, who describe sensing presence, feeling touch, and seeing visions without input of somatosensory stimuli. These participants report many more such incidents than the matched, non-autistic group participants, and current research suggests that unusual somatosensory experiences are prevalent in the autistic population. Attribution of invisible agency is understood as a sense-making coping strategy, and it is argued that esoteric content in fantasy literature, movies and computer games explain why these young adults prefer to attribute agency to ghosts, spirits and demons, rather than god(s). The study thereby extends and challenges the study of autism and religiosity by exploring the intersection between autistic embodiment and encultured cognition.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Taylor & Francis Group, 2020
Emneord
supernatural experiences; autism; somatosensory processing; agency detection; sense-making; popular culture; enchantment
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:du-34863 (URN)10.1080/2153599X.2018.1548374 (DOI)000526449100004 ()2-s2.0-85060168897 (Scopus ID)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-05-23 Laget: 2020-08-24 Sist oppdatert: 2020-08-26bibliografisk kontrollert
3. A Room of One’s Own: Autistic Imagination as a Stage for Parasocial Interaction and Social Learning
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>A Room of One’s Own: Autistic Imagination as a Stage for Parasocial Interaction and Social Learning
2019 (engelsk)Inngår i: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, ISSN 2049-7555, E-ISSN 2049-7563, Vol. 5, nr 1, s. 100-124Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the role and function of imagination and parasocial (fiction-based) relations among autistic individuals. In interviews, seventeen high functioning, autistic young adults describe how they frequently absorb into daydreams, fantasy literature and multiplayer online roleplaying games. These findings diverge from previous cognitive research which suggests that imagination is limited in autistic individuals; a conclusion which is also challenged by scholars in critical autism research. It is suggested that these opposed scholarly views can be bridged analytically and methodologically by separating interpersonal and intrapersonal imagination, of which only the former, social aspect is affected across the whole autism spectrum. The results indicate that parasocial relations are used both for pleasure and to cope with adversities, and that imaginary realms serve as optimal autistic spaces for simulating and practicing social interaction. The article moreover provides a comparative discussion on parasocial and supernatural relations.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 2019
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:du-34844 (URN)10.1558/jcsr.37518 (DOI)
Merknad

Special Issue: Imagination & Religion Vol 5, No 1 2017/2019

Originally as manuscript in dissertation Varieties of Supernatural Experience: the Case of High-Functioning Autism (2019) with the title: A room of one’s own: Autistic imagination as a stage for parasocial interaction.

Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-05-13 Laget: 2020-08-24 Sist oppdatert: 2020-11-18bibliografisk kontrollert
4. Dis:order. Cognition explored through a different lens
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Dis:order. Cognition explored through a different lens
2018 (engelsk)Inngår i: Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: a New Synthesis / [ed] Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, Luther H. Martin, Jeppe Sinding Jensen, Jesper Sørensen, Brill Academic Publishers , 2018, s. 397-412Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

This chapter focuses at challenges that may arise when studying cognition in atypical populations. The central argument is that scholars need to apply new approaches to terminology and methodology, since traditional tools may lead us towards invalid results. This is illustrated through a critical discussion on the proposition that mentalizing difficulties in autistic individuals would be directly linked to atheism, and it is argued that such claims fail when involving embodied and encultured perspectives on cognition.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Brill Academic Publishers, 2018
Serie
Supplements to Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, ISSN 2214-3270 ; 13
Emneord
Cognition; study of religion; atyical cognition; enculturation; embodiment; anthropological approach
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:du-34849 (URN)10.1163/9789004385375_027 (DOI)978-90-04-38537-5 (ISBN)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-05-08 Laget: 2020-08-24 Sist oppdatert: 2020-08-24bibliografisk kontrollert

Open Access i DiVA

fulltekst(1625 kB)2127 nedlastinger
Filinformasjon
Fil FULLTEXT01.pdfFilstørrelse 1625 kBChecksum SHA-512
3923af8a3853f33a5385970166f567cf7f8d952997be9e991636169b3ff2b721c0e6f06c49bdaa4f19bb0defa94408ec94afc95d2d2f81d82eafb39c5a46311e
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Andre lenker

preview image

Person

Visuri, Ingela

Søk i DiVA

Av forfatter/redaktør
Visuri, Ingela

Søk utenfor DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Totalt: 2127 nedlastinger
Antall nedlastinger er summen av alle nedlastinger av alle fulltekster. Det kan for eksempel være tidligere versjoner som er ikke lenger tilgjengelige

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric

isbn
urn-nbn
Totalt: 273 treff
RefereraExporteraLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Referera
Referensformat
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Annet format
Fler format
Språk
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Annet språk
Fler språk
Utmatningsformat
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf