Probuzeni se vzpomínkou : inkubace v kultu Asklépia a její vliv na fungování paměti

Title in English Awakened with a memory : incubation in the cult of Asclepius and its role in the memory consolidation process


Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Religio : revue pro religionistiku
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web Digitální knihovna FF MU
Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Asclepius; incubation ritual; abaton; iamata; cognitive sciences; neuroscience; affective expectations; extended cognition; epidemiology of representations; cultural transmission; sleep; emotions; consolidation of memory; long lasting memories
Description This article tries to reveal factors which could have contributed to the successful spread of the ancient cult of the Greek god of medicine Asclepius but are difficult to grasp by traditional historiographical methods. More specifically, this article analyses which processes within the human body and mind could be advantageous for the spread of mental representations connected with the cult of Asclepius using the theoretical framework of cognitive sciences (especially Dan Sperber's epidemiology of representations and Andy Clark's concept of extended cognition). The major ritual of the cult of Asclepius is known as incubation. Patients, who visited the god's sanctuaries as supplicants, spent a night in the inner sanctuary (abaton) and it was expected that Asclepius would appear in their dreams performing an immediate cure or giving remedies for their recovery. Also, the temples of Asclepius featured iconographical artifacts (e.g. inscriptions about healing miracles) that could trigger emotional reactions and expectations about the ritual. Results from neurobiological experiments suggest that emotional arousal in combination with subsequent sleep could lead to a vivid and long lasting memory of the previous event. These memories could be therefore prioritized in the person's memory and thus be more suitable for cultural transmission than others.
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