The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religio
AbstractUnderstanding religion requires explaining why supernatural beliefs, devotions, and rituals are both universal and variable across cultures, and why religion is so often associated with both large-scale cooperation and enduring group conflict. Emerging lines of research suggest that these oppositions result from the convergence of three processes. First, the interaction of certain reliably developing cognitive processes, such as our ability to infer the presence of intentional agents, favors—as an evolutionary by-product—the spread of certain kinds of counterintuitive concepts. Second, participation in rituals and devotions involving costly displays exploits various aspects of our evolved psychology to deepen people's commitment to both supernatural agents and religious communities. Third, competition among societies and organizations with different faith-based beliefs and practices has increasingly connected religion with both within-group prosociality and between-group enmity. This connection has strengthened dramatically in recent millennia, as part of the evolution of complex societies, and is important to understanding cooperation and conflict in today's world.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number ijn_00505193.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published, Biological Theory, 2010, 5, 18-30
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00505193/en/
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/
by-product hypothesis; credibility enhancing displays; cultural 40 transmission; cooperation; group competition; high gods; min;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-07-31 (All new papers)
- NEP-CUL-2010-07-31 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2010-07-31 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2010-07-31 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2010-07-31 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Hammad Sheikh & Jeremy Ginges & Alin Coman & Scott Atran, 2012. "Religion, group threat and sacred values," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(2), pages 110-118, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.