Six cognitive functions (abstractive, quantitative, cause-and-effect, dualistic-oppositional, reductionist, holistic) work in conjunction with many other neural processes to create one’s belief systems. Some beliefs have strong emotional value and are deeply embedded in memory. Other beliefs elicit only mild responses and may never reach consciousness. (Newberg, Andrew, MD and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. P 95-97. NY:Free Press, 2006)

When you believe your perceptions accurately represent something in reality, your brain sends this information through a hierarchical processing system that allow you to compare the representation with your memories and other believes. These cognitive functions are largely preconscious. Specific cognitive processes are not only essential to the formulation of everyday beliefs but also responsible for the emergence of spiritual perceptions, mystical experiences, and unitive states of consciousness, including functions of:

  • Abstractive
  • Quantitative
  • Cause-and-effect
  • Dualistic or oppositional
  • Reductionist
  • Holistic

(Newberg, Andrew, MD, et al. Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. NY:Ballantine, 2001)