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Gathering a group of researchers from the universities of Oxford, Basel and Hamburg, besides Númena itself, the Pilgrimage Project is a multidisciplinary project which draws on theories and methodologies from psychology, sociology, history, anthropology and theology in an original approach to the phenomenon of pilgrimage.

The first study of this recently-created network of researchers is financed by the Bial Foundation and aims at exploring the motivations and experiences of those who travel to holy places. More specifically, it seeks to understand the specific motivations inherent to pilgrimage and the systems of belief and religious practices involved, which shape the perceptive-ideational (i.e. religious and magic-paranormal) and the states of affect experienced during the visits to holy places.

In order to achieve the previous goals, the project foresees: 1. the development and testing of a new scale of motivations in relation to pilgrimage; 2. the assessment of the pilgrims’ motivations and the reported experiences (behavioural, affective and spiritual); 3. the re- assessment of pilgrims 8 to 12 weeks after the initial contact, outside the pilgrimage context. The final aim is to produce a statistical model, which allow us to predict how the reported experiences are associated to certain individual types of motivation.

The results of this process will constitute the first group of trans-cultural data on pilgrimage in three European countries (Portugal, United Kingdom and France), contributing to a substantial improvent of our comprehension of current religiosity. .

Pedro Soares is responsible for the development of this project in Númena and in Portugal.

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