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Prayer as Inner Sense Cultivation: An Attentional Learning Theory of Spiritual Experience

Luhrmann, Tanya Marie; Morgain, Rachel

Description

How does prayer change the person who prays? In this article, we report on a randomized controlled trial developed to test an ethnographic hypothesis. Our results suggest that prayer which uses the imagination-the kind of prayer practiced in many U.S. evangelical congregations-cultivates the inner senses, and that this cultivation has consequences. Mental imagery grows sharper. Inner experience seems more significant to the person praying. Feelings and sensations grow more intense. The person...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLuhrmann, Tanya Marie
dc.contributor.authorMorgain, Rachel
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:19:31Z
dc.identifier.issn0091-2131
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/71841
dc.description.abstractHow does prayer change the person who prays? In this article, we report on a randomized controlled trial developed to test an ethnographic hypothesis. Our results suggest that prayer which uses the imagination-the kind of prayer practiced in many U.S. evangelical congregations-cultivates the inner senses, and that this cultivation has consequences. Mental imagery grows sharper. Inner experience seems more significant to the person praying. Feelings and sensations grow more intense. The person praying reports more unusual sensory experience and more unusual and more intense spiritual experience. In this work we explain in part why inner sense cultivation is found in so many spiritual traditions, and we illustrate the way spiritual practice affects spiritual experience. We contribute to the anthropology of religion by presenting an attentional learning theory of prayer.
dc.publisherAmerican Anthropological Association
dc.rightshttp://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0091-2131/..."author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing)" from SHERPA/RoMEO site (as at 6/02/17).
dc.sourceEthos: The Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology
dc.subjectKeywords: Christianity; Evangelical congregations; Imagery; Inner experience; Prayer; Spiritual experience
dc.titlePrayer as Inner Sense Cultivation: An Attentional Learning Theory of Spiritual Experience
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume40
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor160104 - Social and Cultural Anthropology
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB2910
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationLuhrmann, Tanya Marie, Stanford University
local.contributor.affiliationMorgain, Rachel, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage359
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage389
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1548-1352.2012.01266.x
local.identifier.absseo950405 - Religious Structures and Ritual
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:03:44Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84868333104
local.identifier.thomsonID000310599800001
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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