Mental Representations of Paradise and Hell in Orthodox Believers

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Abstract

The paper studied the content of mental representations of paradise and hell in Orthodox believers. We searched for differences in detailing of the representations and correlations with the religiosity of the subjects. After pre-selection, the final sample for analysis was: 62 people of Orthodox Christianity, residents of Russia (67.74% women and 32.26% men), age from 18 to 57 years (M = 34.32; SD = 11.03). The following research methods were used: The Centrality of Religiosity Scale (S. Huber & O. Huber), method of directed associations, mini-essay. Orthodox believers are found to produce a significantly greater number of associations with the concept of hell than with the concept of paradise (p = 0.001); the effect size is above average (Cohen’s d = 0.574). The mental representations of hell at the associative level are more detailed and ordered compared to those of paradise. This can be regarded as an indicator of subjective experience at the unconscious or weakly realized level that hell is farther from believers than paradise (in the sense of psychological distance). The degree in which these religious concepts are detailed at the associative level is not related to the level of religiosity of Orthodox believers, but is related to other factors: presumably, to the cultural background of the concepts, individual characteristics of believers, etc.

General Information

Keywords: mental representations; paradise; hell; Orthodox; Christians; religious representations

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2024200207

Received: 12.10.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Dvoinin A.M., Ivanova A.S. Mental Representations of Paradise and Hell in Orthodox Believers. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2024. Vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 60–68. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2024200207. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Alexey M. Dvoinin, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, HSE University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0530-740X, e-mail: alexdvoinin@mail.ru

Anna S. Ivanova, Bachelor of Psychology, Independent Researcher, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0007-3624-0742, e-mail: ivanova.anna.s19@yandex.ru

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