Malevich T.V. Empirical Methods of Research on Religious Experience in Psychology of Religion: History and Contemporary Trends (Late 19th – Early 20th Centuries).

Malevich Tatyana Vladimirovna
Candidate of Philosophic Sciences, Researcher, Institute of Philosophy, RAS
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Abstract. The article is designed as the first part of the research project that presents theoretical and methodological reflections on the history of empirical studies of religious experience in foreign psychology and identifies the current trends in this field of research. In the given part the author discusses the evolution of empirical research on the experiential component of religion in the late 19th - early 20th century outlining the key methodological approaches to the study of religious experiences as well as their specific features. The analysis shows that in the specified period the religious experience was considered as one of the core subject fields of the psychology of religion, with three most popular research models to be identified. The first one was typical of the French school in the psychology of religion being based on the clinical observation method, the second one relied on quantitative questionnaire survey methodology and was popular in the United States, whereas the third one was peculiar to the German psychology of religion and used the method of "systematic experimental introspection". However, since the 1930s onwards the empirical study of religious experience (first in the United States and later in Europe) was turning into a marginal and unpopular area of research. This process was caused by stagnation in the general field of psychology of religion as an academic discipline, rather than by lack of interest in religious experience as such.

Key words: psychology of religion, religious experience, mystical experience, conversion experience, methodology, empirical methods, experimental introspection.

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Empirical Methods of Research on Religious Experience in Psychology of Religion: History and Contemporary Trends (Late 19th – Early 20th Centuries). by Malevich T.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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