The language & practice of faith are full of visual images. People pray until “seeing the path” & moments of spiritual clarity are times of “seeing the light.” The presence or absence of light & brightness appear often as metaphors about & tangible indicators of divine activity. From the perspective of science, we note that human vision develops within 4–6 months. Once the ability to see stabilizes, a question centers on what will capture the person’s visual attention. One answer highlights how the person thinks: fearful people see scary things. We are curious to explore how people’s spiritual condition (their way of thinking about the world) relates to how they literally see (& interact with) their environment. Using eyetracking equipment, we propose to use images previously acquired from people with known spiritual characteristics to examine the extent to which these images evoke consistent patterns of gazing at stimuli. In other words, can one person “see” another person’s spiritual outlook without sharing anything beyond a digital image? We are excited about potential ramifications for areas such as interfaith dialogue, conflict resolution, & the exchange of spiritual information not only between contemporary individuals, but across generations of people & cultures.
Templeton.org is in English. Only a few pages are translated into other languages.