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This paper examines three ancient traits of religion whose origins likely date back to the Upper Paleolithic: ancestor worship, shamanism, and the belief in natural and animal spirits. Evidence for the emergence of these traits coincides with evidence for a dramatic advance in human social cooperation. It is argued that these traits played a role in the(More)
Three experiments were conducted to investigate the ability of subjects to make judgments of direction when using misaligned maps. Two hypotheses were proposed (i) errors would fall into two lawful categories--mirror-image errors and alignment errors; (ii) the effect of map orientation would generalize to a different mode of responding than has been used in(More)
This paper argues that expertise can be used as an indicator of consciousness in humans and other animals. The argument is based on the following observations: (1) expertise and skill acquisition require deliberate practice; and (2) the characteristics of deliberate practice such as performance evaluation against a more proficient model, retention of(More)
Social norms are communally agreed upon, morally significant behavioral standards that are, at least in part, responsible for uniquely human forms of cooperation and social organization. This article summarizes evidence demonstrating that ritual and ritualized behaviors are essential to the transmission and reinforcement of social norms. Ritualized(More)
This article summarizes the literature on the religious mind and connects it to archeological and anthropological data on the evolution of religion. These connections suggest a three stage model in the evolution of religion: One, the earliest form of religion (pre-Upper Paleolithic [UP]) would have been restricted to ecstatic rituals used to facilitate(More)
An experiment was conducted to test for the presence of alignment effects (previously found in sighted map users) in blind and visually impaired subjects using tactual maps. The term 'alignment effects' refers to the fact that when points represented as further up on a map do not correspond to points forward from the user in the environment, errors in the(More)
In 2006, scientist Richard Dawkins published a blockbuster bestseller, The God Delusion. This atheist manifesto sparked a furious reaction from believers, who have responded with numerous books of their own. By pitting science against religion, however, this debate overlooks what science can tell us about religion. According to evolutionary psychologist(More)