8 votes
Accepted

Is there a scientific explanation for dramatic body shaking and trembling in religious settings? (see videos for illustrative examples)

The exhibited behaviours are episodic glossolalia, collapsing, fainting, trembling, jerking, convulsing, contorting, and shaking. The individuals performing these episodic behaviours report ...
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6 votes
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Environmental factors that predict theism

Your question specifically asks environmental factors which predict theism/atheism. Although your question is quite simple, it actually raises quite a few complexities. Firstly, are we referring to ...
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6 votes
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How to measure the correlation between "spirituality" and the susceptibility to false memories?

Maybe what you are looking for is the field cognitive science of religion: Cognitive science of religion is the study of religious thought and behavior from the perspective of the cognitive and ...
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  • 1,730
5 votes

Is there a scientific explanation for dramatic body shaking and trembling in religious settings? (see videos for illustrative examples)

As the OP notes, this has been a difficult topic for Skeptics.SE. I'm going to try to answer here, but over on Skeptics this would probably be labelled as "Original Research". The problem ...
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4 votes

Islam and participation in acts of political violence

A good, and very pertinent question. This speculative and blunt answer is based on the literature that I have studied as part of understanding behavior change. It is a simplification of the literature,...
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4 votes

Do people who lose their faith tend to replace it with other non-evidence-based reasoning?

This is an interesting question, so I'll take a stab at it. Direct evidence for the claim is hard to come by. Generally, religious affiliations, conversions, and loss of faith are self-identified in ...
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4 votes
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Looking for happines in marriage survey according to living/not living together before marriage

A study reported, in the 80's, that unmarried cohabitation prior to marriage was associated with "significantly" lower marital satisfaction, but did not report an effect size. They also ...
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4 votes
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Psychological explanation for exorcisms?

Google Scholar reveals a substantial quantity of learned research on the topic of exorcisms, of which the items below are but a few: Ferracuti, S., & Sacco, R. (1996). Dissociative trance ...
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3 votes
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Do bodily manifestations (e.g. jerking) and intense euphoric sensations (e.g. "heat", "electricity") always co-occur in spiritual experiences?

An inherent problem with the line of investigation is that the exhibited behaviours are inconsistent with the claimed emotions. In no other situation do the emotions of love, peace, ecstasy and ...
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  • 1,688
3 votes

Does belief in an afterlife play a role in suicide rates?

I think, from a statistical point of view, this question will be impossible to answer, because belief in an afterlife is almost always tied to powerful confounding factors, such as participation in a ...
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2 votes

Is there any evidence for a link between religiosity and belief in conspiracy theories?

Another paper that has some empirical results from Australia: The results showed that believers and non-believers did not differ in the belief in conspiracy theories. Unpacking this further though, ...
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  • 9,895
2 votes

Is a concept of good and bad innate or learned?

Psychologically, guilt can be described as "a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined" (Dictionary.com). Guilt is an emotion triggered by a ...
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2 votes

Is there a psychological explanation for people being 'overcome by the Holy Spirit'?

Research in this area is pretty patchy. Summarizing what Wikipedia says on the topic: "God helmet" experiments were plagued by failures to reproduce by independent research groups TLE (temporal lobe ...
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  • 9,895
2 votes

Why are people inclined to praise or fear the unknown?

I'm going to focus on your third question: What does scientific research tell us about why humans have this tendency? I use the word "focus" because, well, I can't answer that. But I can introduce ...
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2 votes
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How do we explain that some humans require far more evidence for some claims than others?

There are at least two important factors or phenomena at play here. The first is whether the subject of the belief has real-world consequences to the believer. The second is whether the belief relates ...
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2 votes

Why does Jung suggest that we need to defend our psyche from original religious experience?

For a really quick and clear understanding of why sometimes it is better to stay in the container of dogma read Edward Edinger's Moby Dick. Jung's position is that religious energy must only sometimes ...
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1 vote

How do I score people on the Religious Orientation Scale?

I don't know about Gupta & Mishra as I cannot find the paper you are referring to, but Allport & Ross (1967) on page 436 (page 5 of the pdf) points out that the full Religious Orientation ...
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1 vote

Is there a robust method to prove the existence of reincarnation?

Short answer You are confusing belief or faith with a hypothesis. Background Instead of a methodological answer, this question might, perhaps arguably, be tackled better from a slightly more ...
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1 vote

Can scientific evidence support concepts of the soul?

Step one would be to define what you mean by "soul". The common Judeo/Christian/Muslim theory is that there is something that (a) is the essential core of a person's personality that is related to ...
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