Lovro Tacol

Middle European interdisciplinary master programme in Cognitive Science (MEi:CogSci)
Ljubljana, Slovenia

INDECS 14(4), 377-396, 2016
DOI 10.7906/indecs.14.4.6
Full text available here.

Received: 5th October 2016.
Accepted: 24th October 2016.
Regular article


What is it like to be a Western Buddhist? How does one experience the world around him, how does one describe, or construct, his own vision of the world, what world-views does one have? In the following research I tried to answer all of these questions with the help of phenomenographical and corpus linguistics analysis of texts that 16 Buddhists, an experimental group, and 16 non-Buddhists, who served as a control group, produced when answering a specially designed questionnaire, the Questionnaire of Life Situations. The point of it was for participants to describe their experience as vividly and as detailedly as possible. The analyses of all the participants' answers have shed light on quite some differences between the groups, as well as some similarities. Very briefly, Buddhists seem to be a lot more compassionate and tolerant than general population, their way of thinking about the world and about life is much more holistic, as also more positive, optimistic, and bright; they seem to be more self-assure, more peaceful and calm. Although this study has some disadvantages - age bias (non-Buddhist group was fairly younger) and small sample - it represents a novel combination of approaches and an effort to explore the interdisciplinary area of psychology of religion, world-view studies, and cultural issues in cognitive science. In the future, it would be highly interesting to expand the study by getting more participants and, perhaps, including more groups.


Buddhism, phenomenography, corpus linguistics analysis, experience, description


APA:2630, 2720, 2920, 2930
JEL:J17, Z12

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