This application focuses on the mental representation of deity concepts and the cognitive processes that influence these representations.

The applicants have established a program of research regarding mental representations and related cognitive processes corresponding to gratitude (Lambert, Graham, & Fincham, 2009), forgiveness (Kearns & Fincham, 2004), and prayer (Lambert, Fincham, & Graham, 2011). The present proposal builds on this foundation and outlines a program of research to systematically evaluate via prototype analysis how conceptualizations of a deity or deities are structured in the mind and how implicit and explicit processes of cognition related to how these concepts operate. In addition, this research program will incorporate analyses across differing generations of family members within both Eastern and Western cultures; specifically data will be collected from mother, father and offspring in both India and the United States.

Deliverable outcomes will include presentations at 2 national scientific meetings and the publication of at least 2 manuscripts in prestigious peer reviewed journals. It is also anticipated that the research will attract media attention (as previous research conducted by the applicant has) resulting in popular mass media stories.