Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1141281
 


 



Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion


Pascal Pascal Boyer


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Brian Bergstrom


Washington University in Saint Louis - Department of Psychology


Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 37, October 2008

Abstract:     
Recent work in biology, cognitive psychology, and archaeology has renewed evolutionary perspectives on the role of natural selection in the emergence and recurrent forms of religious thought and behavior, i.e., mental representations of supernatural agents, as well as artifacts, ritual practices, moral systems, ethnic markers, and specific experiences associated with these representations. One perspective, inspired from behavioral ecology, attempts to measure the fitness effects of religious practices. Another set of models, representative of evolutionary psychology, explain religious thought and behavior as the output of cognitive systems (e.g., animacy detection, social cognition, precautionary reasoning) that are not exclusive to the religious domain. In both perpectives, the question remains open, whether religious thought and behavior constitute an adaptation or a by-product of adaptive cognitive function.

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: June 6, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Pascal Boyer, Pascal and Bergstrom, Brian, Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 37, October 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1141281

Contact Information

Pascal Pascal Boyer (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Brian Bergstrom
Washington University in Saint Louis - Department of Psychology ( email )
St. Louis, MI 63130
United States
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