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Aspergers, andar och böner till Gud: En fallstudie om Aspergers syndrom, religion och andlighet
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, Study of Religions.
2013 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This case study examined what impact the neurological disorder Asperger’s syndrome has on the line of reasoning about religion and spirituality. Also, the question of whether the four informants showed any tendency to use the cognitive tools called theory of mind (ToM), existential theory of mind (EToM) and hypersensitive agency detection device (HADD) or not was put forth. From the interviews five themes were extracted: a stereoscopical view upon the world, thoughts on physical causality, prayer used as one-way communication, spiritual agency and intentionality, as well as existential and social questions. These themes were subsequently matched with theories on ToM, EToM and HADD. The result of the case study showed that the informants’ line of reasoning only corresponded to two out of six possible and expected approaches to religion and spirituality. For example, the informants rejected literal readings of religious narratives and there were no signs of rigidity or specific interest in religious rituals. However, their arguments were often based on physical causality and they were creative in discerning logical connections between physical and spiritual concepts. Regarding the use of cognitive tools, the informants showed signs of using ToM, but only in relation to spirits, guardian angels and aliens. There was no perceived two-way interaction, and the informants seemed to separate between an impersonal, deistic image of God and other metaphysical and personal agents. Also, the informants appeared to use their HADD in reasoning on agency and intentionality, at least parts of it, while there were no signs of EToM in terms of meaning making arguments. In conclusion, it seems as if curiosity is a key element in the results, both in the informants’ line of reasoning about religion and spirituality and possibly in terms of activating some of the cognitive tools examined in this essay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola , 2013, 1. , 132 p.
Södertörn Studies on Religion, 6
Keyword [sv]
Aspergers syndrom, religion, andlighet, theory of mind (ToM), existential theory of mind (EToM), hypersensitive agency detection device (HADD)
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-19967ISBN: 978-91-86069-75-9OAI: diva2:658448
Available from: 2013-10-22 Created: 2013-10-22 Last updated: 2015-01-26

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