Aug 11, 2020

Online Event: The Neurobiology of 'Awe' in Cult Recruitment - Yuval Laor, PhD

Abstract: Awe is an unusual emotion. When a strong awe experience is combined with the right expectations, assumptions and context, the consequences can be a sudden religious conversion. This is why understanding this emotion is critical to understanding the process of cult recruitment.

This lecture will focus on insights about awe that can be drawn from examining temporal lobe epilepsy, a neurological condition that causes frequent awe experiences. Looking at the functions of the brain’s temporal lobes may explain why awe feels the way it does, as well as the connection between awe and perceptual vastness, the auditory and vestibular senses, and the feelings of relevance and importance. We will then see how this can shed light on the triggers of awe which are anything that is judged as being sufficiently anomalous — these include: celebrities, trauma, hypomanic symptoms caused by love bombing, hallucinations, vast things, and perceived “miracles.”

Biography: Yuval Laor received his PhD in culture studies from Tel Aviv University, where he was supervised by leading evolutionary biologist Eva Jablonka. His dissertation explored the evolution of religious psychology, with an emphasis on evolutionary accounts of the human capacity for fervor and sudden conversion, and his subsequent, highly original work has focused on the nature of fervor. Yuval has published articles in the Journals of Religion Brain and Behavior and History and Theory. He is currently working on a book entitled Fervor: What cults can teach us about the evolution of religion.

More Information:

* Pacific Rim/UK: September 12/13, 2020, Saturday/Sunday

* North America: September 11/12, 2020, Friday/Saturday

#Cults #event #death #cultexpert

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