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Visuri, Ingela, fil. dr.ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7042-0877
Publications (10 of 11) Show all publications
Visuri, I. (2020). A room of one’s own: Autistic imagination as a stage for parasocial interaction. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, 5(1), 100-124
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A room of one’s own: Autistic imagination as a stage for parasocial interaction
2020 (English)In: Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, ISSN 2049-7555, E-ISSN 2049-7563, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 100-124Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the role and function of imagination and parasocial/fictional relations among autistic individuals. Interviews with 17 high functioning young adults diagnosed on the autism spectrum illustrate how they frequently absorption into day dreams, fantasy literature and multiplayer online roleplaying games. Cognitive research however suggests that imagination is limited in autistic individuals; a conclusion which is currently challenged by scholars pointing towards a faulty stereotype. The results suggest that these opposed scholarly views can be bridged analytically and methodologically by separating between interpersonal  and intrapersonal imagination, of which only the former, social aspect is affected across the whole autism spectrum. The results moreover indicate that parasocial relations are used both for pleasure and to cope with adversities, and that imaginary realms serve as optimal ‘autistic spaces’ for simulating and practicing social interaction. Finally, the article provides a cognitive comparison between parasocial and invisible, ‘religious’ (e.g. gods, spirits and djinn) relations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Equinox, 2020
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29590 (URN)10.1558/jcsr.37518 (DOI)2-s2.0-85164455876 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-05-13 Created: 2019-05-23 Last updated: 2023-09-11Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. & James Clark, K. (2020). Autism and the panoply of religious belief, disbelief and experience. In: Alasdais Coles & Joanna Collicutt (Ed.), The Neurology of Religion: (pp. 139-148). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Autism and the panoply of religious belief, disbelief and experience
2020 (English)In: The Neurology of Religion / [ed] Alasdais Coles & Joanna Collicutt, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2020, p. 139-148Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

While the cognitive mechanisms that incline us towards theistic belief in superhuman agents have been well documented over the past twenty-five years, unbelief has not received nearly so much attention. Recent studies however suggest that just as with theistic belief, various psychic mechanisms and processes might incline one toward unbelief, such as a propensity for analytic thinking. It has also been suggested that the connection between atheism and analytic thinking may be mediated by mentalizing constraints in autism. In this essay, we will present and evaluate a few such studies and then consider some additional ideas that we hope will contribute to a fuller understanding of possible approaches to religion and spirituality in autistic individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020
Keywords
Autism, cognition, theism, atheism, theory of mind
National Category
Psychiatry Religious Studies Psychology
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31158 (URN)10.1017/9781316014165 (DOI)9781316014165 (ISBN)
Note

kommande

Available from: 2019-12-02 Created: 2019-12-02 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2020). Sensory supernatural experiences in autism. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 10(2), 151-165
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sensory supernatural experiences in autism
2020 (English)In: Religion, Brain & Behavior, ISSN 2153-599X, E-ISSN 2153-5981, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 151-165Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines attribution of supernatural agency in 17 Swedish, high-functioning young adults on the autism spectrum, who describe sensing presence, feeling touch, and seeing visions without input of somatosensory stimuli. These participants report many more such incidents than the matched, non-autistic group participants, and current research suggests that unusual somatosensory experiences are prevalent in the autistic population. Attribution of invisible agency is understood as a sense-making coping strategy, and it is argued that esoteric content in fantasy literature, movies and computer games explain why these young adults prefer to attribute agency to ghosts, spirits and demons, rather than god(s). The study thereby extends and challenges the study of autism and religiosity by exploring the intersection between autistic embodiment and encultured cognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2020
Keywords
supernatural experiences; autism; somatosensory processing; agency detection; sense-making; popular culture; enchantment
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29591 (URN)10.1080/2153599X.2018.1548374 (DOI)000526449100004 ()2-s2.0-85060168897 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-05-23 Created: 2019-05-23 Last updated: 2020-11-23Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2019). Dis:order: Cognition explored through a different lens. In: A. K. Pedersen, I. Sælid Gilhus, L. H. Martin, J. Sinding Jensen, J. Sørensen (Ed.), Evolution, Cognition and the History of Religion: a New Synthesis: Festschrift in Honour of Armin W. Geertz (pp. 397-412). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dis:order: Cognition explored through a different lens
2019 (English)In: Evolution, Cognition and the History of Religion: a New Synthesis: Festschrift in Honour of Armin W. Geertz / [ed] A. K. Pedersen, I. Sælid Gilhus, L. H. Martin, J. Sinding Jensen, J. Sørensen, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019, p. 397-412Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this chapter I discuss challenges that we are faced with when studying atypical populations, departing from my own research on religiosity in autistic individuals. The central argument is that the study of atypical cognition requires new approaches to terminology and methodology, and difficulties arise when we fail to do so. I will also turn a critical eye to the postulation that mentalizing difficulties are directly linked to atheism by departing from the understanding of cognition as embrained, embodied, encultured, extended and distributed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2019
Series
Supplements to Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, ISSN 2214-3270 ; 13
Keywords
cognitive science of religion; atypical cognition; autism; embodiment; enculturation; methodology; terminology; anthropology, kognitiv religionsvetenskap; atypisk kognition; autism; embodiment; enkulturation; metodologi; terminologi; antropologi
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-28559 (URN)10.1163/9789004385375_027 (DOI)978-90-04-38537-5 (ISBN)978-90-04-38510-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-11-20 Created: 2018-11-20 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2019). Varieties of Supernatural Experience: the Case of High-Functioning Autism. (Doctoral dissertation). Huddinge: Södertörns högskola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Varieties of Supernatural Experience: the Case of High-Functioning Autism
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is argued in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) that the empathic ability to ‘mindread’ others underpins  the experience of supernatural communication with gods, ghosts, and spirits. As autism is characterized by mentalizing difficulties, CSR scholars have expected autistic individuals would find supernatural agency incomprehensible. This thesis however turns the question around: why do autistic individuals engage intimately in supernatural relations, despite the social difficulties they face in everyday life?

The thesis aims to provide new insights on autistic and religious cognition through examination of supernatural descriptions provided by 17 young, high-functioning autistic adults (16–21 years of age) who label themselves as ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’. The research questions explore: (1) cognitive aspects of experienced interaction with invisible agents, compared with human interaction, (2) the prevalence of unusual embodied experiences (e.g. feeling touch and seeing visions without external input) and its role in attributions of supernatural agency, and (3) the psychological function of parasocial (fiction-based) interaction in imaginary realms.

This interdisciplinary project draws on work undertaken in the cognitive science of religion, cognitive and critical autism research, and psychological anthropology. Mixed qualitative and quantitative methods are employed to enable a kaleidoscopic outlook on the topics explored, and to promote a dialogue between idiographically and nomothetically oriented scholars. The study provides first-person perspectives on religious and autistic cognition, which is understood as dynamic interaction between embrained, embodied, encultured and situated input.

It is argued in Publication I that  ‘bodiless’ interaction facilitates mentalizing, also in relation to invisible agents, as no cross-modal synchronization of mimicry, body language and intonation is required. Publication II examines the prevalence of unusual, embodied experiences in autism, and it is proposed that supernatural attributions offer enchantment and sense-making of potentially frightening experiences. Results from Publication III suggest that  imaginary worlds and parasocial relations function as ‘simulators’ that autistic individuals use to rehearse social interaction. Publication IV offers a theoretical and methodological discussion regarding the study of atypical cognition. Importantly, this thesis illustrates that these imaginative autistic participants are not drawn to  supernatural frame- works in spite of, but because of the supernatural and parasocial characters these provide.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling tar avstamp i den hypotes inom kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning som föreslår att människors förmåga till mentalisering också ligger till grund för upplevelser av kommunikation med övernaturliga väsen, som exempelvis gudar, änglar och spöken. Då autistiska personer ofta har svårt att just läsa av andra människors avsikter har forskare utgått från att autistiska individer inte borde intressera sig för, eller förstå sig på, trosföreställningar kring andeväsen med osynliga sinnen. Den här avhandlingen vänder dock på frågan: hur kommer det sig att autistiska personer – trots utmaningar i social kommunikation med andra människor – ändå engagerar sig i övernaturliga väsen som uppfattas ha egna sinnen och viljor?

Genom att undersöka sådana föreställningar hos 17 unga vuxna (16-21 år) med högfungerade autism som alla beskriver sig själva som religiösa och/eller andliga, syftar avhandlingen till att bidra med nya insikter gällande autistisk och religiös kognition. Forskningsfrågorna undersöker: (1) kognitiva aspekter av upplevd kommunikation med osynliga aktörer, i jämförelse med mänsklig interaktion, (2) förekomsten av till synes oförklarliga, förkroppsligade upplevelser som sker utan yttre stimuli, och hur denna relaterar till upplevelser av övernaturlig agens, och (3) den psykologiska funktionen hos parasociala (fiktionsbaserade) relationer i imaginära världar.

Detta tvärvetenskapliga projekt anknyter till forskning inom kognitionsvetenskaplig religionsforskning, kognitiv samt kritisk autismforskning, och psykologisk antropologi. Både kvalitativa och kvantitativa forskningsmetoder tillämpas för att möjliggöra en kalejdoskopisk översikt över de ämnen som utforskas, samt för att främja dialog mellan forskare inom medicinska och humanistiska forskningsdiscipliner. Avhandlingen bidrar med intervjupersoners personliga inifrånperspektiv angående autistisk och religiös kognition, som här förstås som dynamisk interaktion mellan neural, kulturell, förkroppsligad och kontextberoende information.

I Publikation I föreslås att icke-förkroppligad interaktion med exempelvis andeväsen underlättar mentalisering för autistiska individer, eftersom de i vardaglig social kommunikation och interaktion har svårt att synkronisera ansiktsuttryck, kroppsspråk och intonation. I Publikation II undersöks förekomsten av oförklarliga, kroppsliga upplevelser hos autistiska individer. Intervjupersonernas tillskrivande av övernaturlig agens analyseras som en meningsskapande funktion som både skapar förtrollning och får oförklarliga upplevelser att framstå som mindre skrämmande. Resultaten i Publikation III pekar mot att imaginära världar och parasociala relationer fungerar som ’simulatorer’ där autistiska individer konstruerar hanterbar social interaktion, vilket samtidigt bidrar med social övning. I Publikation IV diskuteras teoretiska och metodologiska aspekter kring studiet av otypisk kognition. En central slutsats är att deltagarna i studien dras till överempiriska världar just på grund av de osynliga sinnen som dessa innehåller, eftersom de är särskilt hanterbara för autistiska individer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2019. p. 412
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 165
Keywords
Autism, religious cognition, supernatural experience, invisible agency, parasocial relations, embodiment, bracketed ethnography, participatory autism research, atypical cognition
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29589 (URN)978-91-88663-70-2 (ISBN)978-91-88663-71-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-07, MA624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-23 Created: 2019-05-23 Last updated: 2020-11-23Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2018). Rethinking Autism, Theism, and Atheism: Bodiless Agents and Imaginary Realities. Archive for the Psychology of Religion/ Archiv für Religionspsychologie, 40(1), 1-31
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rethinking Autism, Theism, and Atheism: Bodiless Agents and Imaginary Realities
2018 (English)In: Archive for the Psychology of Religion/ Archiv für Religionspsychologie, ISSN 0084-6724, E-ISSN 1573-6121, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 1-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This anthropologically informed study explores descriptions of communication with invisible, superhuman agents in high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum. Based on material from interviews, two hypotheses are formulated. First, autistic individuals may experience communication with bodiless agents (e.g., gods, angels, and spirits) as less complex than interaction with peers, since it is unrestricted by multisensory input, such as body language, facial expressions, and intonation. Second, descriptions of how participants absorb into “imaginary realities” suggest that such mental states are desirable due to qualities that facilitate social cognition: While the empirical world comes through as fragmented and incoherent, imaginary worlds offer predictability, emotional coherence, and benevolent minds. These results do not conform to popular expectations that autistic minds are less adapted to experience supernatural agents, and it is instead argued that imaginative, autistic individuals may embrace religious and fictive agents in search for socially and emotionally comprehensible interaction.

Keywords
religion; autism; superhuman agents; mentalizing abilities; imagination; emotional coherence; fantasy proneness; multisensory binding
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-26609 (URN)10.1163/15736121-12341348 (DOI)000434436000001 ()2-s2.0-85048224782 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-05-22 Created: 2018-05-22 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2015). Empatiträning på schemat. In: Petra Alfe Åslund (Ed.), Från Alfons till Dostojevskij 2: Röster om Barnkonventionen (pp. 64-69). Stockholm: Fondi förlag
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Empatiträning på schemat
2015 (Swedish)In: Från Alfons till Dostojevskij 2: Röster om Barnkonventionen / [ed] Petra Alfe Åslund, Stockholm: Fondi förlag , 2015, p. 64-69Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

I detta kapitel diskuteras möjligheten att utgå ifrån berättande och rolltagande inom undervisning om de abrahamitiska religionerna (judendom, kristendom och islam). Syftet är att både bidra till elevernas förståelse av de olika traditionerna, samt utveckla deras empatiska förmågor. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Fondi förlag, 2015
Keywords
Empati, undervisning, religionskunskap, Abrahams barn, Abrahams döttrar, genus, legender, litteratur
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-26615 (URN)9789198209525 (ISBN)978-91-637-9285-4 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2013). Aspergers, andar och böner till Gud: En fallstudie om Aspergers syndrom, religion och andlighet (1ed.). Huddinge: Södertörns högskola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspergers, andar och böner till Gud: En fallstudie om Aspergers syndrom, religion och andlighet
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. p. 122 Edition: 1
Series
Södertörn Studies on Religion ; 6
Keywords
Aspergers syndrom, religion, andlighet, theory of mind (ToM), existential theory of mind (EToM), hypersensitive agency detection device (HADD)
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21415 (URN)978-91-86069-75-9 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-04-19 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2012). Could Everyone Talk to God?: A Case Study on Asperger's Syndrome, Religion, and Spirituality. Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, 16(4), 352-378
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Could Everyone Talk to God?: A Case Study on Asperger's Syndrome, Religion, and Spirituality
2012 (English)In: Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, ISSN 1522-8967, E-ISSN 1522-9122, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 352-378Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Four young adults diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome were interviewed to learn more about what impact this neurological disorder might have on the reasoning on religion and spirituality, particularly regarding their theory of mind and interaction with metaphysical agents. The result contradicts several predictions about Asperger's syndrome and religion, and when analyzing to what extent the theory of mind was used when reasoning on intentionality, it seems as if the informants separate between different kinds of metaphysical agents. The question remains whether their reasoning on religion and spirituality is more influenced by having a specific cognitive style or by their cultural context.

Keywords
Asperger's syndrome, cognition, existential theory of mind, religion, spirituality, theory of mind
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21416 (URN)10.1080/15228967.2012.731888 (DOI)2-s2.0-84869807794 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-12-17 Created: 2016-04-19 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Visuri, I. (2009). The teacher's dilemma: Exploring the border between culture relativism and prejudice when discussing gender issues in islam (1ed.). In: Roos, Lena and Berglund, Jenny (Ed.), Your heritage and mine: Teaching in a multi-religious classroom (pp. 170-180). Uppsala: Religionshistoriska avdelningen, Uppsala universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The teacher's dilemma: Exploring the border between culture relativism and prejudice when discussing gender issues in islam
2009 (English)In: Your heritage and mine: Teaching in a multi-religious classroom / [ed] Roos, Lena and Berglund, Jenny, Uppsala: Religionshistoriska avdelningen, Uppsala universitet , 2009, 1, p. 170-180Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Religionshistoriska avdelningen, Uppsala universitet, 2009 Edition: 1
Series
Studies on inter-religious relations, ISSN 1650-8718 ; 43
Keywords
Religionsundervisning, Mångfald i skolan
National Category
Religious Studies Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21418 (URN)9789189652361 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-04-19 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved
Projects
Swedish network for the medical humanities [2021-01887_Forte]; Uppsala University
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-7042-0877

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