Andrea Maria Nencini received her BA at the University of Florence in Contemporary History. Interested in the relationship connecting religious beliefs and the evolution of the brain, she later obtained her MA in Cognitive Science from the University of Trento. As a PhD student in History of Religions at Sapienza University of Rome, she worked on a thesis analyzing the cognitive basis of habitual meditative exercises in ascetic scenarios, using a comparative approach between different religious traditions. She also completed an advanced course in Critical Theory at University of Florence, to study the dynamics between power structures and society. She obtained her PhD in 2021 and has subsequently received an honorary fellowship (‘Cultrice della materia’) in History of Religions at Sapienza University of Rome. Her interests cover topics regarding cognitive, evolutionary and psychological approaches to the study of religious phenomena, meditative exercises, asceticism, philosophy of mind and philosophy of habit. Specifically, she is interested in exploring the relationship between perceptual conditioning and the experience of mind-body dualism in ascetic settings.

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