Cooperation and Commune Longevity: A Test of the Costly Signaling Theory of Religion

  title={Cooperation and Commune Longevity: A Test of the Costly Signaling Theory of Religion},
  author={Richard Sosis and Eric Bressler},
  journal={Cross-Cultural Research},
  pages={211 - 239}
The costly signaling theory of religion posits that religious rituals and taboos can promote intragroup cooperation, which is argued to be the primary adaptive benefit of religion. To test this theory, the authors collected historical data on the constraints and ritual requirements that eighty-three 19th-century U.S. communes imposed on their members. All communes must solve the collective action problem of cooperative labor to survive; thus, they are an ideal population to assess the impact of… 

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