Mentalizing is an important actual topic, both in psychodynamic theory and in clinical practice. Remarkably, mentalizing has been explicitly related to religion or psychology of religion only to a limited extent. This article explores the relevance of the concept of mentalizing for psychology of religion by first describing mentalizing, its development, and neuropsychological underpinnings. Second, to illustrate how the concept gives more insight into the psychology of religious phenomena, mentalizing is related to an almost universal religious practice, namely religious prayer. Empirical studies from different psychological subdisciplines are interpreted from the perspective of mentalizing. Finally, its relevance for the discipline of psychology of religion is discussed. In this way, the potential of the concept as both an explaining psychological mechanism and a bridging notion that overcomes differences between psychological subdisciplines is demonstrated.
- psychology of religion
- social cognition