Comparison of Different Measures of Religiousness and Spirituality: Implications for Neurotheological Research
Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
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AbstractThe neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual phenomena requires the development of methodologies that can target both the biological as well as the subjective dimensions of such phenomena. The purpose of the current study was to compare various subjective questionnaires evaluating neuropsychological dimensions of religiosity. Many scales and questionnaires have been developed over the years, but they have rarely been compared to each other. As part of an online survey of peoples&#8217; spiritual experiences, we had individuals complete several questionnaires including the Quest Scale, the Religiousness Measure, the INSPIRIT, the Death Anxiety Measure, and the Intrinsic Motivation Scale. Some of these scales also have subcomponents which can be evaluated separately. We compared these scales to each other, and also to a variety of demographic variables such as age, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status. Importantly, these scales have neurological correlates that can be the targets of future studies in the field of neurotheology. The evaluation of such qualitative data has important implications for methodological challenges in future neurotheological research.