The perception of religious meaning and value: an ecological approach

Autores: Barrett, Nathaniel
Título de la revista: RELIGION, BRAIN & BEHAVIOR
ISSN: 2153-599X
Fecha de publicación: 2013
The perception of value is one of the most important dimensions of religious experience, and yet the cognitive science of religion has so far had little to say about it. This neglect may be the result of a widespread assumption that value is constructed, that is, a special quality added to sensory input by the mind. However, such a view not only divorces value from meaning, but it also cannot register the ways in which value is discovered and enriched through skillful engagement. Accordingly, it is proposed that the experience of value is better understood in ecological terms, as the richness of meaningful interaction between a skilled perceiver and a suitably complex environment. An ecological approach opens up new opportunities for the investigation of the environmental conditions of value-rich religious experience. For example, it may be possible to determine how the experience of divine presence is supported by the structural features of music used in religious settings.