Processes of Believing: The Acquisition, Maintenance, and Change in Creditions

  • Hans-Ferdinand Angel
  • Lluis Oviedo
  • Raymond F. Paloutzian
  • Anne L.C. Runehov
  • Rüdiger J. Seitz

Part of the New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion book series (NASR, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Hans-Ferdinand Angel, Lluis Oviedo, Raymond F. Paloutzian, Anne L. C. Runehov, Rüdiger J. Seitz
      Pages 3-15
  3. Psychology and Neuroscience

  4. Philosophy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 181-181
    2. Anne L. C. Runehov
      Pages 195-207
    3. Anders Kraal
      Pages 209-216
  5. Theology, Religious Studies, and Anthropology

  6. Social Sciences

  7. Natural and Computer Sciences

  8. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 451-451
    2. Hans-Ferdinand Angel, Lluis Oviedo, Raymond F. Paloutzian, Anne L. C. Runehov, Rüdiger J. Seitz
      Pages 453-460
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 461-476

About this book


This volume answers the question: Why do we believe what we believe? It examines current research on the concept of beliefs, and the development in our understanding of the process of believing. It takes into account empirical findings in the field of neuroscience regarding the processes that underlie beliefs, and discusses the notion that beyond the interactive exploratory analysis of sensory information from the complex outside world, humans engage in an evaluative analysis by which they attribute personal meaning and relevance to the probabilistic representations of objects and events.

Beliefs exert a strong influence on behaviour, decision-making, and identifying and solving problems. Despite their importance, beliefs have until recently not been at the centre of scientific interest. In fact, “belief” is an ill-defined phenomenon. From a transdisciplinary perspective the actual approaches to understanding belief seem incompatible as they attempt to highlight such different topics as “belief – religion”, “belief – spirituality”, “belief – faith”, “belief – knowledge”, “belief – attitude”, “belief – disbelief”, “belief – illusion”, and “believing – brain function”. This situation contradicts the idea that belief is close to pathological phenomena and that it should be eliminated from scientific discussions. Rather, believing is fundamental for understanding the many problems of every-day life. In fact, the book shows that beliefs are relevant for politics, international affairs, economy, law, or religions also in modern societies. This book presents the increasing scientific interest in beliefs and believing, and reflects the change in focus from the content aspect of belief towards the fluid nature of believing.


Bab Configuration and Space of Action Belief, faith and trust Beliefs in Relation to Each Other Believing and Stability as the Grounding of Faith Believing in the Economic Sphere Cognition, Affection, and Believing Delusions and Mind-tricks How Beliefs are Insulated, Changed, Stabilized, and Modulated Inferring Beliefs in the Minds of Others Placebos and Nocebos Processes and Functions of Believing Religious believing Scope and Reach of Creditions Wisdom and Knowledge in Believing

Editors and affiliations

  • Hans-Ferdinand Angel
    • 1
  • Lluis Oviedo
    • 2
  • Raymond F. Paloutzian
    • 3
  • Anne L.C. Runehov
    • 4
  • Rüdiger J. Seitz
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Catechetics and Religious EducationKarl-Franzens University of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Pontifical University AntonianumRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyWestmont CollegeSanta BarbaraUSA
  4. 4.Department of TheologyUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden
  5. 5.Department of Neurology, Centre for Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, LVR-Klinikum DüsseldorfHeinrich-Heine-University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-50922-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-50924-2
  • Series Print ISSN 2367-3494
  • Series Online ISSN 2367-3508
  • Buy this book on publisher's site