Authority, Hierarchy and Human Physiology in Religion and History



Year of publication 2013
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description In the current Cognitive Psychology and Neurosciences, there is a growing body of evidence favouring theories based on theoretical assumptions that abandon the sharp dichotomy between body and mind. These theories see the mind and decision making apparatus, at least on a certain level, as embodied and influenced by complex physiological changes and processes. Some of these theories predict the influence of bodily positions on subjectively perceived expressions of dominance or submission in specific social situations. Knowledge acquired in this research might be a useful source of information for historians of religions (and historians generally) since it might contribute to a better understanding of religious rituals or practices which use various bodily positions to induce in participants certain feelings and moods. The flow of information is, however, not solely one directional. As cognitively oriented research can provide precious new theoretical stimuli to historiography, this research can also benefit from information provided by historians which might help increase the external validity of experimentally gathered data.
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