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  • 1. Clark, Kelly
    et al.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Autism and the Panoply of Religious Belief, Disbelief and Experience2019In: Neurology and Religion / [ed] Joanna Collicutt, Alasdair Coles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2019, p. 139-148Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    While the cognitive mechanisms that incline us towards theistic belief in superhuman agents have been well documented over the past twenty-five years, unbelief has not received nearly so much attention. Recent studies however suggest that just as with theistic belief, various psychic mechanisms and processes might incline one toward unbelief, such as a propensity for analytic thinking. It has also been suggested that the connection between atheism and analytic thinking may be mediated by mentalizing constraints in autism. In this essay, we will present and evaluate a few such studies and then consider some additional ideas that we hope will contribute to a fuller understanding of possible approaches to religion and spirituality in autistic individuals.

  • 2.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Högskolan i Gävle, Akademin för utbildning och ekonomi, Avdelningen för humaniora, Religionsvetenskap. Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    A Room of One’s Own: Autistic Imagination as a Stage for Parasocial Interaction and Social Learning2019In: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, ISSN 2049-7555, E-ISSN 2049-7563, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 100-124Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 3. Visuri, Ingela
    An (audio-) visual lens on religion and religiosity2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This session aims at bringing forth and exemplifying visual methods and materials in capturing expressions, ideas and experiences related to religion and religiosity. Visual methods are rarely used in the academic study of religions, despite the accessibility and penetrating power that images have gained in modernity. The use of film and photography are becoming increasingly widespread in other fields of research, for instance to apprehend embodied and multisensory aspects (Pink, 2011), power relations (Sontag, 1978), and subconscious properties that are reflected but not displayed (Grimes, 2014). The use of visual material further invites the researcher – as well as the audience – to participate and gain empathic insight into that which is depicted (Pink, 2011). In my paper, the methodology and empirical material from a number of ’photographic life story interviews’ is presented. The research project described aims at gaining insights about the religiosity of 17 young adults on the autism spectrum. This is done by assigning the participants the role of the expert, preparing their own interviews by taking photos of aspects deemed relevant, and then guiding the researcher through the photos. Visual methods have great potential for researchers studying religion and religiosity through ethnographic, anthropological and phenomenological methodologies. Besides making the interviews predictable and thus more comfortable for individuals on the autism spectrum, the collaborative method presented here has contributed to illuminating significant and multisensory aspects which may otherwise have been lost. 

  • 4.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Aspergers, andar och böner till Gud: En fallstudie om Aspergers syndrom, religion och andlighet2013 (ed. 1)Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This case study examined what impact the neurological disorder Asperger’s syndrome has on the line of reasoning about religion and spirituality. Also, the question of whether the four informants showed any tendency to use the cognitive tools called theory of mind (ToM), existential theory of mind (EToM) and hypersensitive agency detection device (HADD) or not was put forth. From the interviews five themes were extracted: a stereoscopical view upon the world, thoughts on physical causality, prayer used as one-way communication, spiritual agency and intentionality, as well as existential and social questions. These themes were subsequently matched with theories on ToM, EToM and HADD. The result of the case study showed that the informants’ line of reasoning only corresponded to two out of six possible and expected approaches to religion and spirituality. For example, the informants rejected literal readings of religious narratives and there were no signs of rigidity or specific interest in religious rituals. However, their arguments were often based on physical causality and they were creative in discerning logical connections between physical and spiritual concepts. Regarding the use of cognitive tools, the informants showed signs of using ToM, but only in relation to spirits, guardian angels and aliens. There was no perceived two-way interaction, and the informants seemed to separate between an impersonal, deistic image of God and other metaphysical and personal agents. Also, the informants appeared to use their HADD in reasoning on agency and intentionality, at least parts of it, while there were no signs of EToM in terms of meaning making arguments. In conclusion, it seems as if curiosity is a key element in the results, both in the informants’ line of reasoning about religion and spirituality and possibly in terms of activating some of the cognitive tools examined in this essay.

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  • 5. Visuri, Ingela
    Autism, theism and atheism2015Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is a critique of previous publications that aim at establishing autism as a case of atheism. I argue that such assumptions are based on a simplified understanding of both religious belief and autism, inadequate methods, and blindness to cultural impact on results. In conclusion, I hold that to date we have no reliable data that will reveal what leads autistic individuals to theism or theism, and new approaches are required for exploring the topic.

  • 6. Visuri, Ingela
    Being (in-)different?: Religious coping on the autism spectrum2015Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents an ongoing PhD-project concerning autism and religious coping which centres narratives from inside the autism spectrum.

  • 7.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Bryt upp!: Nyandlighet som scen för kvinnlig identitetsförhandling.2020In: Kvinnligt religiöst ledarskap: En vänbok till Gunilla Gunner / [ed] Simon Sorgenfrei, David Thurfjell, Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2020, p. 289-300Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    I denna essä skildras deltagarna på en nyandlig kryssning, och jag ställer frågan hur det kommer sig att främst kvinnor i äldre medelåldern är med ombord. Utifrån min roll som deltagande observatör beskrivs olika andliga sessioner, och den teoretiska analysen kring nyandlighetens frigörande potential görs via en intersektionell lins.

  • 8. Visuri, Ingela
    Cognitive perspectives on Asperger’s syndrome, religion and spirituality2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, the results from my master thesis are presented. The aim of the study was to explore whether mentalizing difficulties in individuals with Asperger's syndrome seems to affect their reasoning on communication and possible intentions in superhuman agents. The four young men who were interviewed in depth all define themselves as believers of different kinds, adhering either to Christianity or believing in superhuman agents such as spirits, ghosts and/or aliens.

    Only two out of six expected approaches suggested by Dubin & Graetz (2009) were met: None of the informants showed any interest in using religious rituals to create structure in their lives, and neither did they interpret religious narratives literally. Similarly, the fifth and sixth of Dubin and Graetz’s expected approaches – which is the rigid approach and manic focus on religion - failed in my material. They did however seek to explain and understand things such as Biblical narratives, ghosts, spirits, reincarnation and mystical phenomena like the Bermuda triangle, through physical arguments. Moreover, there was no conflict between accepting spiritual phenomena and using scientific physical explanation, since they were able to apply both perspectives at once. I call this a “stereoscopical view” (similar to the ”logical creativity” suggested by Dubin & Graetz); looking with one eye at each subject and then joining them together. 

    In conclusion, more empirical studies are needed to explore the reasoning on religion and spirituality in autistic individuals. I also argue that we need to cross-cultural comparisons to find out more about cultural impact in such reasoning.

  • 9.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Completing the circle: How cognitive perspectives can revitalize the study of religion and education2021Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The history of education is intertwined with the history of psychology, and influential thinkers such as Johann Herbart, William James, John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner employed psychological perspectives when developing their ideas on knowledge and learning. This connection however appears to be weak in contemporary studies on religion and education, despite the expansive progress seen in both psychology and the cognitive sciences. This paper introduces areas where cognitive perspectives can be useful in developing a broader understanding of religion and education. Such gains both pertain to the theoretical understanding of how to develop religious literacy among pupils and students, as well as didactic aspects of the work conducted in classrooms. The ideas presented in the paper are centered around ‘learning by doing’, the role of emotions in enhancing memory, narrative didactics, and how experiences support the understanding of others and may bridge between pupils with differing identities. By involving cognitive perspectives, we can complement the understanding of the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ with comprehension of ‘why’ certain topics and methods provide more profound insights and learning outcomes than others.

  • 10.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Could Everyone Talk to God?: A Case Study on Asperger's Syndrome, Religion, and Spirituality2012In: Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, ISSN 1522-8967, E-ISSN 1522-9122, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 352-378Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Four young adults diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome were interviewed to learn more about what impact this neurological disorder might have on the reasoning on religion and spirituality, particularly regarding their theory of mind and interaction with metaphysical agents. The result contradicts several predictions about Asperger's syndrome and religion, and when analyzing to what extent the theory of mind was used when reasoning on intentionality, it seems as if the informants separate between different kinds of metaphysical agents. The question remains whether their reasoning on religion and spirituality is more influenced by having a specific cognitive style or by their cultural context. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

  • 11. Visuri, Ingela
    Dis-order: The study of atypical cognition and religion2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation, theoretical and methodological pitfalls in research on autism and religion is discussed, such as overlooking how cultural impact and embodiment affects religious cognition. It is further argued that collaborative and explorative approaches are necessary when pioneering a new field, in order to formulate new hypotheses that can later be tested to validate generalisability.

  • 12.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Dis:order. Cognition explored through a different lens2018In: 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, p. 397-412Chapter in book (Other academic)
    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.

  • 13.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Döden i klassrummet: Nya villkor för mötet mellan ’sekulära’ och ’religiösa’ elever2021In: Den nya människan / [ed] Tomas Axelsson och Torsten Hylén, Möklinta: Gidlunds förlag, 2021, p. 179-190Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    I detta kapitel utforskas krocken mellan reflekterade tankar och oreflekterade intuitioner om vad som händer med våra sinnen när vi dör. Syftet är att belysa samtal om döden som en konstruktiv mötesplats där elever med sekulär respektive religiös identitet kan mötas i religionskunskapsundervisningen, och begreppet *sekulär litteracitet* föreslås här som ett analytiskt komplement till *religiös litteracitet.* I den första delen av kapitlet presenteras tidigare kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning om människans (o)förmåga att föreställa sig sinnenas upphörande efter döden. I den andra delen av kapitlet sammanförs den kognitionsvetenskapliga forskning som presenterats med en religionsdidaktisk diskussion kring varför och hur mänskliga intuitioner om sinnets fortlevnad efter döden kan tas till vara i religionskunskapsundervisningen.

  • 14.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Högskolan i Gävle, Religionsvetenskap.
    Empatiträning på schemat2015In: Från Alfons till Dostojevskij 2: Röster om Barnkonventionen / [ed] Petra Alfe Åslund, Stockholm: Fondi förlag , 2015, p. 64-69Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    I detta kapitel diskuteras möjligheten att utgå ifrån berättande och rolltagande inom undervisning om de abrahamitiska religionerna (judendom, kristendom och islam). Syftet är att både bidra till elevernas förståelse av de olika traditionerna, samt utveckla deras empatiska förmågor. 

  • 15. Visuri, Ingela
    Exchanging ‘Beliefs’ for ‘Experience’: The Role of Popular Culture.2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation, I argue that there has been a generational shift that affects attribution of supernatural agency. Younger generations tend to consume a vast amount of popular culture, which in turn is permeated by occult contents. Exemplifying how this affects reasoning among Swedish youths, I suggest that focus in secular contexts needs to be reoriented from what people say they believe to what they experience in their everyday lives. 

  • 16.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Experience as a path towards supernatural beliefs: The role of occulture among younger generations2023Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation, I will address a glitch that has been largely overlooked in the study of religious cognition; namely cross-generational differences in the attribution of non-ordinary powers. Contemporary popular culture is permeated by magical and occult narratives, and Christopher Partridge argues that such ”occulture” has become ordinary among younger generations. While occult narratives may not be labelled as spiritual or religious, they yet appear to function as existential anchors in secularized contexts. Empirical examples are provided from a study on supernatural and parasocial relations among young adults on the autism spectrum, who are using the term ”supernatural” to make sense of anomalous experiences. Such experiences moreover seem to provide a path towards non-empirical beliefs in a sample that grew up highly secularized Sweden. 

  • 17. Visuri, Ingela
    Fantasy proneness in secular contexts2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this empirical paper, I present the reasoning in a subgroup of so-called 'fantasizers', derived from an study conducted in Sweden. The switching between the paramount (i.e. everyday) reality and the fantastic (i.e. imaginary) reality is described as a "willing suspension of disbelief". I do however not argue that this is a specific phenomenon related to autism, but suggest that certain individuals with and without autism are specifically fantasy prone. The category of fantasy prone individuals contributes to raising questions on experiences and psychological consequences of living in cultural contexts where secularity is part of predominant norms.

  • 18.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others, by Tanya Luhrmann.2021In: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, ISSN 2049-7555, E-ISSN 2049-7563, Vol. 7, no 1, p. 123-126Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 19. Visuri, Ingela
    Invisible agents and imaginary realities in autism2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, empirical material from an on-going PhD-project on religiosity in young adults on the autism spectrum is presented. This interdisciplinary study focuses primarily on the role of mentalizing and sensory processing in religious representation and experience, and two novel hypotheses are put forward. First, invisible agents (e.g. gods, angels and spirits) seem more manageable, compared to embodied human interaction, for autistic individuals who may find body language, facial expressions and intonation perplexing. Second, there is possibly an autistic subgroup of fantasy prone individuals, spending much time in imaginary worlds that are experienced as realistic, and having sensory experiences that are considered to be paranormal. It is argued that daydreaming and enchantment fill the purpose of both escapism and adaptation, and is used to cope with socio-cognitive issues as well as existential challenges.

  • 20.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Invisible hands and sacred unicorns: Occulture as a schema for supernatural ascriptions in the millennial generation2020In: Building Blocks of Religion: Critical Applications and Future Prospects, Sheffield: Equinox Publishing , 2020, p. 71-81Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter presents an empirical and methodological example of an interdisciplinary study on religious cognition, in which the approach is aligned with the building blocks approach suggested by Ann Taves and Egil Asprem. While autism is the focal point of the research project, the study also highlights a generational shift in the ascription of non-ordinary powers as these millennials appear to embrace occult phenomena in Western popular culture (‘occulture’). Besides illustrating how emic ascriptions of things set apart from the ordinary may vary between different generations, the chapter also provides a multilevel model of how unusual embodied experiences – which appear to be especially prevalent on the autism spectrum – are understood in terms of occult schemas derived from popular culture.

  • 21.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Ockult populärkultur och övernaturlig erfarenhet bland unga (autistiska) svenskar: Vems ’religion’ undervisar vi om?2020In: Årsbok / Föreningen lärare i religionskunskap: Existentiella frågor i barns och ungas liv / [ed] Emma Hall, Bodil Liljefors Persson, Malmö: Föreningen lärare i religionskunskap , 2020, 51, p. 40-54Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    När jag som ung religionslärarstudent introducerades till Hjalmar Sundéns rollteori öppnades en ny värld för mig. I detta kapitel vill jag dela med mig av hur Sundéns tankar fört mig vidare in i det nya fält som kallas kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning, och hur detta i sin tur fått mig att skifta fokus från vad människor tror till vad de upplever. Detta perspektivskifte utmanar tidigare antaganden kring den generation av elever som idag befinner sig i våra klassrum: är svenska majoritetsungdomar verkligen så sekulariserade som många tror? Mitt ärende berör också möjligheten att bjuda in eleverna att dela med sig av sina egna erfarenheter via ett underutnyttjat medium; nämligen ockult populärkultur.

  • 22.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Religious experience among young, autistic adults2022In: Autism and Religious Experience: Theory and Practice / [ed] Saša Horvat & Tanja Horvat, Zagreb: Grafomark , 2022, p. 101-121Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter takes its departure in interviews with 17 young adults (16-21 years old), who are all diagnosed with autism (type 1) and who describe themselves as religious and/or spiritual. According to the naturalness hypothesis of religion, supernatural beliefs are underpinned by an intuitive propensity for mentalization. But what about autistic individuals who find mentalization difficult? The aim was to explore how these individuals – who all struggle to grasp social communication in their everyday lives – come to form intimate relationships with invisible, supernatural beings. The findings suggest that the absence of physical bodies facilitates mentalization, as autistic individuals often are challenged in decoding non-verbal, embodied language. Instead, the participants describe interpretation of emotions as key to understanding what their supernatural partners have in mind. Another finding concerns the fact that most of the participants grew up in families with secular worldviews, and their path towards developing supernatural interpretations seems to be mediated through anomalous experiences, rather than social learning or philosophical reasoning. While the study does not reveal to what extent autistic individuals generally are attracted to invisible agency and magical narratives, it illustrates that supernatural dimensions are central for the participants in this study, and that such beliefs support them in making sense of unusual experiences and to cope with difficulties in their everyday lives.

  • 23.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Högskolan i Gävle, Religionsvetenskap.
    Rethinking Autism, Theism, and Atheism: Bodiless Agents and Imaginary Realities2018In: Archive for the Psychology of Religion/ Archiv für Religionspsychologie, ISSN 0084-6724, E-ISSN 1573-6121, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 1-31Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 24. Visuri, Ingela
    Rethinking autism, theism, and atheism: Bodiless agents and imaginary realities2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this presentation, results from an ongoing study on religiosity in young adults on the autism spectrum is presented. Despite popular notions that autistic individuals would find it difficult to form mental representations of invisible minds, these participants describe the experience of mutual interaction with supernatural agents such as gods, angels and ghosts. Moreover, several of them describe vivid daydreaming and imaginary realities that they absorb into. It is argued that there is a discrepancy between social imagination and imagination per se, and that only the former is affected in autism. It is also suggested that supernatural and imaginary representations of invisible agents are more predictable and demand less cognitive load in comparison to interaction face-to-face.

  • 25.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Högskolan i Gävle, Religionsvetenskap.
    Sensory supernatural experiences in autism2020In: Religion, Brain & Behavior, ISSN 2153-599X, E-ISSN 2153-5981, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 151-165Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 26. Visuri, Ingela
    Supernatural experience in autism2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper I present empirical data from a mixed methods study of supernatural attribution in high functioning autistic individuals, with special focus on the sensory, supernatural experiences described by the participants.

  • 27.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Supernatural experiences and autistic embodiment2020In: Religion. Tidsskrift for Religionslærerforeningen for Gymnasiet og HF, ISSN 0108-4488, no 1, p. 51-62Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 28.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Religious education, Cybergymnasiet, Stockholm.
    The Teacher’s Dilemma: Exploring the Border between Culture Relativism and Prejudice when Discussing Gender Issues in Islam2009In: Your Heritage and Mine: Teaching in a Multi-Religious Classroom / [ed] Lena Roos, Jenny Berglund, Uppsala: Swedish Science Press , 2009Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this chapter, I discuss the challenges teachers face when teaching gender issues in Islam. I argue that in order to avoid falling into culture relativism, teachers need to use feminist voices from inside Islam in order to lift forth perspectives that are deemed relevant. This way the agenda is formulated within an Islamic context, rather than by Western (non-Muslim) academics.

  • 29. Visuri, Ingela
    The Teacher’s Dilemma: Exploring the Border between Culture Relativism and Prejudice when Discussing Gender Issues in Islam2007Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This theoretical paper explores the dilemma that many teachers experience when the topic of gender and islam is brought up; namely the risk of falling into cultural relativism because some pupils might have a prejudiced and negative picture of Islam. It is argued that we cannot avoid the topic, firstly because the curriculum states that we must do so, and secondly because these things need to be discussed in order to bring about awareness of democracy and equality. 

    In this paper, I focus on how - and why -  teachers in Religious education may approach the problems that many Muslim women face, without falling into cultural relativism. It is suggested that rather than applying one's own (Western) ideals and preconceptions, voices from the inside should be brought forward to highlight topical debates among Muslim women and feminists. To bring the topic up for discussion and simply excuse Muslim gender relations as a cultural phenomenon that exist because people do not understand better, is to give the pupils an unfair and old fashioned picture of Islam and those who confess to be Muslims.

  • 30.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Södertörns högskola, Religionsvetenskap.
    Varieties of Supernatural Experience: the Case of High-Functioning Autism2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    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.

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  • 31.
    Visuri, Ingela
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    What happens after death?: Cognitive perspectives on secular complexity and religion education in Sweden2022Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Sweden is often described as a highly secularized country, but we know little of the actual worldviews among youths in Swedish classrooms. The overarching aim of the quantitative study presented in this paper is to investigate ambiguous positions concerning supernatural beliefs among young Swedes, and to consider educational implications of these. The results highlight a central conclusion in the cognitive science of religion, namely that self-declared beliefs are not always aligned with people’s actual thoughts and experiences. These results provide Swedish RE-teachers with interesting opportunities for creating a space where pupils with secular and religious self-images can meet for existential discussions; thus, allowing pupils to use their personal experiences to better understand peers with other worldviews. The term *secular literacy* is moreover introduced to highlight the necessity of studying both secularity and religiosity as complex constructs, to avoid reinforcing the notion of an “Us” and a “Them”.

  • 32.
    Visuri, Ingela
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Rimondini, Andreas
    Brulin, Joel Gruneaun
    Vad händer efter döden?: En religionsdidaktisk omförhandling utifrån unga ’sekulära’ svenskars ambivalens kring det övernaturliga2023In: Acta Didactica Norden, E-ISSN 2535-8219, Vol. 17, no 2Article in journal (Refereed)
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    fulltext
  • 33.
    Visuri, Ingela
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Ross Atkinson, Andrew
    University of Bialystok.
    “You know we’re never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy”: A Review of McCauley & Graham (2020) ‘Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind: What Mental Abnormalities Can Teach Us About Religions’2020In: Secularism and Nonreligion, E-ISSN 2053-6712Article, book review (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    An essay review of McCauley, Robert N. and George. Graham. 2020. Hearing Voices and Other Matters of the Mind: What Mental Abnormalities Can Teach Us about Religions. Oxford University Press.

  • 34.
    Visuri, Ingela
    et al.
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Ståhle, Göran
    Södertörns Högskola.
    The psychology of religion: Experiential dimensions2022In: Bloomsbury Religion in North America: Theory and Method: The Basics / [ed] Bradley Herling, Bloomsbury Academic, 2022Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, we will look into some commonly used methods and theories in the psychology of religion. This research field dates back to the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, when scholars such as Stanley Hall and William James directed attention toward the role of religious experiences and their relation to human nature. Such experiences are focused on here, and as we will see, there are various ways of approaching the interaction between psychology, religion, culture, embodiment, and cognition. This article provides examples of both qualitative and quantitative methods commonly used in the field, and the pros and cons these bring about. We will also examine some prominent schools of thought that differ in their approach to religion and psychology: cultural psychology, clinical psychology, and the cognitive science of religion. While some of these scholars emphasize the role of culture, others center the role of internal, psychological processes. In some cases, the role of embodied practices and collective emotions are seen as crucial for the understanding of religiosity, and in other cases, individual traits are highlighted. This variety of approaches makes up a kaleidoscope of perspectives on the complex and fascinating ways in which religion and psychology interact, and how the outcome of such processes differs between various cultures and contexts.

1 - 34 of 34
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