Euphoria versus dysphoria: differential cognitive roles in religion?

In Slim Masmoudi, Abdelmajid Naceur & David Y. Dai (eds.), Attention, Representation & Performance. New York: Psychology Press. pp. 147-165 (2011)
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Abstract

The original book chapter does not have an abstract. However, I have written an abstract for this repository: Religious life encompasses a wide diversity of situations for which the emotional tone is on a continuum from extreme euphoria to extreme dysphoria. In this book chapter, we propose the novel hypothesis that euphoria and dysphoria have distinctly separate functional consequences for religious evolution and survivability. This is due to the differential cognitive states that are created in euphoric and dysphoric situations. Based on readings from religious studies and cognitive psychology, we propose that euphoria in religion is conducive to social bonding and situations needing lateral thinking and creativity; whereas dysphoria in religion is conducive to situations where precision and analogical reasoning are necessary.

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Yvan I. Russell
Middlesex University

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