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Invitation to the Psychology of Religion


Invitation to the Psychology of Religion Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This is the only newly revised book on the market to target the mid-level undergraduate student. Providing a well-balanced and thorough look at the psychological literature, this book is meant to be “an invitation to the psychology of religion, not an encyclopedia of it,” and therefore, particular emphasis has been placed on writing style as well as scholarship.

Book News Annotation:

A revised edition of the survey text examining research in the psychology of religion. Paloutzian (Westmount College) briefly outlines the major themes in the field: theoretical developments; religious development in children, adolescents, and adults; religious attitudes and behaviors; psychopathology, and normal religious experience in definitions of the Self. Each section includes discussion questions and projects related to the subject matter.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


This new, second Invitation is equally as timely and important as the first. It promises to accurately reflect psychology of religion research, to illustrate how such research is done, and to stretch the reader's mind and the discipline further.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition.

From the Preface to the First Edition.

1. Religion in Psychological Perspective.

The Prevalence and Scope of Religion.

Religion in Action.

Psychological Questions about Religion.

What is Religion?

Religion as Reconnection.

Personal and Social Religion.

Religious Function and Religious Content.

The Variety of Religious Behaviors.

How do Psychologists Handle the Problem of Defining Religion?

Dimensions of Religious Commitment: Logical and Descriptive.

Religious Belief (The Ideological Dimension).

Religious Practice (The Ritualistic Dimension).

Religious Feeling (The Experiential Dimension).

Religious Knowledge (The Intellectual Dimension).

Religious Effects (The Consequential Dimension).

The Dimensions in Combination.

Status and Utility of the Multidimensional Schema.

Psychological Approaches to Religion.

Complementary Viewpoints within Psychology.

Where do we Look for the Processes Underlying Religiousness?

Relevance of the Possible Bases of Religion.

Is the Psychology of Religion Valid?

Is Religion Unique?

Implications of the Various Positions.

Approach and Plan of the Book.




2. Historical and Theoretical Developments.

The Early Period: An Impressive Start.

Starbuck and the ``Either-Or Philosophy.


The Middle Period: Factors Contributing to the Decline.

Theoretical Interlude.

Classical Theories and Their Questions.

Some Stimuli to Current Research.

The Contemporary Period: The Reemergence of the Field.

Indicators of the Trend.

Is Psychology of Religion Influencing General Psychology?

Reasons for the Trend.

3. Research in the Psychology of Religion.

Philosophy of Science for Psychology of Religion.

Tensions Between Psychology and Religion.

The Nature of Psychological Science.

Multiple Accounts of Religious Behavior.

Influence of the Post-Modernism Movement.

The Role Psychology Can Fulfill.

Methods of Researching Religion.

Strategies and Methods.

Measuring Religion.

4. Religious Development in Children.

Psychological Research on Religious Development.

The Nature of Childhood Religion.

Perception, Language, and the Meaning of Symbols: Cognitive Mechanisms.

Family, Social Context, and Personal Needs: Social Learning and Attachment Processes.

Cognitive Factors in Moral Development.

Piaget's 2 Stages of Moral Reasoning.

Piaget's 3 Stages of Cognitive Development.

Kohlberg's 6 Stages of Moral Judgment.

Stages of Religious Development.

Elkind's Stage Theory.

Research on Religious Stages.

Religious Stages in Prayer.

Research Possibilities and Questions.

5. Religious Development Through the Lifespan: Adolescence and Adulthood.

Religion in Adolescence.

How Religious are Adolescents?

Global Measures of Religiousness.


Secret Doubt and Hidden Observers.

Models of Lifespan Religious Development.

Development of Religious Judgment: The Double Helix Model.

Stages of Faith Development.

Sequence of Motives: Religion as Used, Lived, and a Quest.

Are Stage Models Valid?: An Assessment.

Psychological Processes Prompting Adolescent Religious Development.


Cognitive, Social, and Personal Factors.

Religion and Spirituality in Adulthood and Old Age.

How Religious are Adults and the Aged?

Baseline Data on Religion and Spirituality.

Age-Trajectory Data.

Spirituality and Functional Religious Development.

Research Possibilities and Questions.

6. Religious Conversion and Persuasion.

Prevalence and Definition of Conversion.

Popular Opinion.

The Prevalence of Conversion.

The Definition Issue.

Conversion Processes.

Sudden and Gradual Conversion.

Conversion Process Models.

Lofland and Stark's Step Model of Conversion.

Motives are Important: Glock's Expansion of Sect-Church Theory.

The Relief Effect and Group Processes.

The Conversion-as-Creativity Analogy.

A Systemic Stage Model.

Choice and the Cause of Conversion.

Psychological Issues in Conversion.

Religion as Crutch.

Role of Emotions.

The Convertible-Type Issue.

The Ripe-Age Issue.

Conversion as Attitude Change.

Some Current Issues Pertaining to ``Cults.

What is ``Cultic?

``Snapping and Brainwashing.

Research Possibilities and Questions.

7. Religion and Experience.

Relations between Religion and Experience.

Experience: The Bottom Line.

Ordinary and Extraordinary Experience.

Experiential Responses to Religion.

Phenomenological Descriptions of Becoming Religious.

Conversion, Values, and Purpose in Life.

Religious and Mystical Experience.

The Common Core Thesis and the Problem of Language.

Theories of Religious Experience.

What Facilitates Religious Experience?

Research Possibilities and Questions.

8. Religious Orientation, Attitudes, and Behavior.

Religion and Morally Relevant Attitudes.

Living One's Religion vs. Using It.

Religious Orientation and Prejudice.

Religious Orientation and Subjective Experience.

Tentative Conclusions about the Intrinsic-Extrinsic Constructs.

Religion and Social Behavior.

The Good Samaritan Experiment: Evidence for Situational Factors in Helping.

The Rescuers: Evidence for Personal factors in Helping.

Religion and Negative Behavior.

Does Religion Predict Significant Moral Behavior?

Re-Evaluating the I-E Research: Quest and Fundamentalism.


Has I-E Outlived Its Usefulness?

Authoritarianism and Fundamentalism.

Research Possibilities and Questions.

9. Religion, Health, and Well-Being.

Impressions of Religion and Psychopathology.

Religious Material in Psychic Disturbance.

Relativity of Mental Health.

Religion and Normal Personality.

Early Childhood Factors.

Authoritarianism and Dogmatism.

Suggestibility and Hypnotizability.

Intelligence and Achievement.


Religion, Mental and Physical Health, Abnormality, and Well-Being.

Religion and Mental Health.

Physical Health.

Fear of Death.

Spiritual Well-Being.


What Conclusions Can be Drawn?

Research Possibilities and Questions.

10. Evaluation and New Directions.

General Evaluation.

Areas and Issues.

Cross-Topic Themes.

Directions for Development.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

Product Details

Paloutzian, Raymond F.
Paloutzian, Raymond F.
Cram101 Textbook Reviews
Boston :
Psychology of Religion
Psychology, Religious
General Psychology & Psychiatry
Psychology : General
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
February 1996
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
9 x 6 x 1 in 431 gr

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Religion » Christianity » Theology » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

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"Synopsis" by , This new, second Invitation is equally as timely and important as the first. It promises to accurately reflect psychology of religion research, to illustrate how such research is done, and to stretch the reader's mind and the discipline further.
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