Religion: In addition to being an inherently fascinating subject, we have been particularly interested in whether there are any religious implications related to a child’s ability to sense and relate to invisible (see-through) beings. While jokes abound concerning God as an invisible friend, we have been exploring whether there could indeed be any relationship between a child’s ability to engage invisible friends and believing in or relating to religious beings (gods, angels, saints, etc.).
An example, at the heart of the matter, is the child whose IF turned out to be “The Holy Spirit.”
Cognitive Science of Religion: This kind of research is part of an emerging field of study called the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR). Those doing such research come from a variety of disciplines (e.g. religious studies, cognitive psychology, anthropology) and include religious practitioners and atheists alike. All are interested in how the mind (cognition, knowing) works in relation to religious stuff–whether believing in invisible beings, or exploring what sacred music, texts, rituals, or practices do our ways of knowing and life with others.