What does captured in the passage? I assume it to mean expressed, but I am not sure.

By the beginning of the 20th century psychology as science had barricaded itself against any liaison with culture. The focus on experimental psychology of lower psychological functions was expected to make psychology a real science. Linkages with history in general and cultural history in particular would have been obstacles on the royal road to scientific purity. The result was another century of no serious work on complex cultural phenomena by psychologists. Music — a favourite topic for early psychologists in the 19th and early 20th century — has not been a prominent research field as the discipline enters the 21st century. The story is similar in the case of religion, which in its various forms frames social and personal lives all over the world. It had mostly been abandoned by psychologists as a research field by the 1920s. Nearly a hundred years later, our lives are filled with ever re-emerging spiritual sentiments that are easily captured by new religious organizations. Psychology as science has little to say about the profound importance of religious sentiments in human lives.

An Invitation to Cultural Psychology

1 Answer 1


"Captured" literally means to bring into captivity. It has many figurative uses - for example a painting or a photograph may be said to "capture" its subject material.

I understand its use in your quotation to be close to its literal meaning, although nothing physical is being seized. It seems to suggest that spiritual 'needs' arise first in people, then religious organisations 'take' these needs and capitalise on them by providing something to fulfil those needs, and it is in that sense that the organisations "capture" these ideas or sentiments. It is perhaps suggesting that they do so in a similar way to when businesses capitalise on demand by selling things that people currently demand.

  • I agree your answer is most likely. There are I think overtones of two other possibilities. One is the the religious organisation expresses the particular sentiment. Another is that the organisation limits the particular sentiment, for example by teaching that only one expression of it can be the truth. The word "captures" can suggest these things; which one is meant may be ambiguous.
    – Peter
    May 14, 2021 at 8:36

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