Religion and psychosis: A common evolutionary trajectory?

  title={Religion and psychosis: A common evolutionary trajectory?},
  author={Simon Dein and Roland Littlewood},
  journal={Transcultural Psychiatry},
  pages={318 - 335}
In this article we propose that schizophrenia and religious cognition engage cognate mental modules in the over-attribution of agency and the overextension of theory of mind. We argue similarities and differences between assumptions of ultrahuman agents with omniscient minds and certain ‘‘pathological’’ forms of thinking in schizophrenia: thought insertion, withdrawal and broadcasting, and delusions of reference. In everyday religious cognition agency detection and theory of mind modules… 

Did Christianity lead to schizophrenia? Psychosis, psychology and self reference

Six novel aspects of Christianity may be significant for the emergence of schizophrenia—an omniscient deity, a decontexualised self, ambiguous agency, a downplaying of immediate sensory data, and a scrutiny of the self and its reconstitution in conversion.

The controversy of religion and psychosis

century, such as Phillipe Pinel and Emil Kraepelin, claimed that religion can cause madness in vulnerable individuals(Koenig, 2001). In more recent and nuanced models, there is a continuum between

Christianity and Schizophrenia Redux: An Empirical Study

Patients with schizophrenia showed increases in positive spirituality and decreases in positive congregational support, as measured by the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality, and there was no significant difference in Christian religiosity.

Neurology and religion

This innovative book examines what can be learnt about the role of the brain in religious belief and practice from studying people with neurological disorders, such as stroke, epilepsy and Parkinson

Might Hallucinations Have Social Utility?: A Proposal for Scientific Study

  • P. Kauffman
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease
  • 2016
Data is analyzed on 95 people who experienced verifiable persistent non–drug-assisted hallucinations in Europe, North America, and Australasia and discusses the life outcomes of 39 subjects.

Brain mechanisms in religion and spirituality: An integrative predictive processing framework

  • M. ElkA. Aleman
  • Philosophy, Psychology
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
  • 2017

Drawing together psyche, soma and spirit: My career in cultural psychiatry

  • S. Dein
  • Psychology
    Transcultural psychiatry
  • 2011
The influence of the personal background and research have focused upon two areas: the cognitive and phenomenological parallels between religious experiences and psychopathological states, and relationships between biomedicine and religious healing in diverse cultural contexts.

The Impact of Spirituality and Trauma on Appraisals of Psychotic-Like Experiences

The Impact of Spirituality and Trauma on Appraisals of Psychotic-Like Experiences By: Kathleen S. Isaac Advisor: Deidre Anglin, Ph.D. Background: A substantial portion of the general population (2.5%

The God Allusion

This paper helps to elucidate the interplay between various cognitive processes that might predispose some individuals but not others toward holding such beliefs in the first place.

Sweet Delight and Endless Night: A Qualitative Exploration of Ordinary and Extraordinary Religious and Spiritual Experiences in Bipolar Disorder

ABSTRACT The authenticity of religious and spiritual experiences during mania is an important subject for bipolar patients. The exploration of such experience in bipolar disorder is the central point



"Theory of mind" in schizophrenia: a review of the literature.

  • M. Brüne
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Schizophrenia bulletin
  • 2005
It is still under debate how an impaired ToM in schizophrenia is associated with other aspects of cognition, how the impairment fluctuates with acuity or chronicity of the schizophrenic disorder, and how this affects the patients' use of language and social behavior.

Spiritual Experience and Psychopathology

A recent study of the relationship between spiritual experience and psychopathology (reported in detail elsewhere) suggested that psychotic phenomena could occur in the context of spiritual

The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion

Why do people have religious ideas? And why thosereligious ideas? The main theme of Pascal Boyer's work is that important aspects of religious representations are constrained by universal properties

Social deficits associated with schizophrenia defined in terms of interpersonal ‐ Machiavellianism

A complementary hypothesis was tested, that patients with schizophrenia will be relatively non-Machiavellian compared to controls, and that social problems associated with the condition may reflect this relative social credulity.

Delusional ideation in religious and psychotic populations.

These findings provide further support for the notion of a continuum between normality and psychosis and for the necessity to consider the multidimensionality of delusional beliefs.

How shamanism and group selection may reveal the origins of schizophrenia.

Honey bee colonies possess sterile task specialists whose presence can best be understood by the evolutionary principle of group selection, and schizophrenia could represent an ancient form of behavioral specialization.

Exploring the natural foundations of religion

  • J. Barrett
  • Philosophy
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion

This book discusses the evolution of religion, the nature of belief, and the role of religion in the development of modern society.

Evolutionary Perspectives on Schizophrenia

  • J. PolimeniJ. Reiss
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie
  • 2003
This paper reviews major evolutionary explanations— historical and current—that speculate on the possible origins of schizophrenia that are applied to the study of schizophrenia.