Concepts of gods, like any other concepts, are informed and constrained by cross-cultural regularities of the human mind-brain. Specifically, divine beings that are represented as intentional agents are subject to the cognitive intuitions that govern all intentional agents. These intuitions may include psychological and physical attributes not endorsed by a given theological tradition. Experimental evidence is presented supporting the presence of these cognitive constraints and a resulting divergence between stated theological beliefs and implicit concepts. Hindu residents of northern India completed questionnaires regarding attributes of Brahman, Shiva, Vishnu, or Krishna and also participated in a narrative comprehension task. Results revealed striking differences in how the gods were conceived in the two contexts.

Source Link: http://www.anthro.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/images/staff/justin_barrett/Barrett%201998_JSSR.pdf