© 2017

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


  • Is the first to present broad studies on the processes of believing

  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject

  • Reflects the development in scientific research of beliefs and the underlying processes


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

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

About the editors

Hans-Ferdinand Angel, trained in theology, ancient Latin philology, and history, studied in Regensburg (Germany) and Paris. From 1996 he was Professor at the Technical University Dresden (Germany) and, since 1997, is Professor of Catechetics and Religious Education at the Karl-Franzens University Graz (Austria). He is member of the advisory committee of the Initiative of Brain Research in Syria and the scientific director of the global and interdisciplinary Credition Research Project at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz.

Lluis Oviedo, Full professor of Theological Anthropology at the Theological Faculty in Antonianum University in Rome and invited professor in the Theological Institute of Murcia (Spain) for questions of religion, society and science; and invited professor in the Theological Institute of Murcia, Spain, for faith, reason and culture. He is the co-editor for the 4 volumes Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, Springer 2013.

Raymond F. Paloutzian received his doctorate from Claremont Graduate School and is Professor Emeritus of experimental and social psychology at Westmont College, Santa Barbara (California). He edited The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion for 18 years and is consultant to the Religion, Experience, and Mind Lab Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He co-edited (with A. Kalayjian) Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Psychological Pathways to Conflict Transformation and Peace-Building, Springer, 2010.

Anne L.C. Runehov has a Reader (Associate Professor) degree from the Uppsala University (Sweden). She earned a Doctor degree in Philosophy of Religion at Uppsala University, and a Master degree in Theoretical Philosophy, major Philosophy of Mind at the same university. She is the Editor for the 4 volumes Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, Springer 2013, and member of the steering committee of the conferences “The Structure of Creditions”.

Rüdiger J. Seitz has a degree of medicine at the University of Hamburg (Germany) and is Professor of Neurology at the Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf (Germany). He was Section Editor of the Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, Springer 2013. He is member of the steering committee of the conferences “The Structure of Creditions” and co-director of the interdisciplinary Credition Research Project.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Processes of Believing: The Acquisition, Maintenance, and Change in Creditions
  • Editors Hans-Ferdinand Angel
    Lluis Oviedo
    Raymond F. Paloutzian
    Anne L.C. Runehov
    Rüdiger J. Seitz
  • Series Title New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion
  • Series Abbreviated Title New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-50922-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-84523-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-50924-2
  • Series ISSN 2367-3494
  • Series E-ISSN 2367-3508
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 476
  • Number of Illustrations 30 b/w illustrations, 16 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Mind
    Sociology of Culture
    Cognitive Psychology
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