Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, Vol 5, No 1

Tell Me a Story: Religion, Imagination, and Narrative Involvement

Jessica E. Black, Molly Oberstein-Allen, Jennifer L. Barnes
Issued Date: 30 Jan 2020


Sacred stories and religious texts play a central role in religion, yet there is a paucity of research investigating the relationship between religiosity and individual differences in how people engage with stories. Here, we examine the relationship between religiosity, as well as a belief in God, and three variables related to how individuals interact with narratives: a tendency to become absorbed in stories (transportability), a tendency to form relationships with the characters in stories (parasociability), and a reluctance to imaginatively engage with immoral fictions (imaginative resistance). Although transportability was only weakly related to intrinsic religiosity, both parasociability and imaginative resistance were correlated with a range of religiosity measures. Notably, the relationship between parasociability and religiosity was mediated by personal involvement with religious texts.

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DOI: 10.1558/jcsr.37491


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