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Inward, Outward, and Upward: Cognitive Aspects of Prayer

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Recent investigations concerning ways people employ prayer typically suffer from either a fundamentally atheoretical approach or an indiscriminant mixing of affective, behavioral, and cognitive components. The present study examines the theory that a general concept of prayer–as–connection contains prayers of inward (connection with oneself), outward (human–human connection), or upward (human–divine connection) foci. Participants rated words or phrases according to what they “thought about” while praying. Factor analysis revealed eight primary factors: two inward, four outward, and two upward. Three second–order factors emerged (two outward and one upward). However, no general factor appeared.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Indiana University kladd@iusb 2: University of Denver

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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