Supernaturalizing Social Life

  title={Supernaturalizing Social Life},
  author={Matt J. Rossano},
  journal={Human Nature},
  • M. Rossano
  • Published 9 September 2007
  • Psychology
  • Human Nature
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 evolution of human cooperation through the mechanism of social scrutiny. Social scrutiny is an effective means of reducing individualism and… 
Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion
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A cultural evolutionary theory is proposed to explain why shamanism consistently develops and why shamanic traditions exhibit recurrent features around the world and how shifting social conditions affect the form or existence of shamanism.
Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality
The results support the hypothesis that beliefs in moralistic, punitive and knowing gods increase impartial behaviour towards distant co-religionists, and therefore can contribute to the expansion of prosociality.
The Kin Selection of Religion
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Tyvan cher eezi and the socioecological constraints of supernatural agents' minds
The specific concerns attributed to supernatural agents vary considerably across populations. Evidence from evolutionary psychology suggests that commitment to supernatural agents facilitates
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Recent years have seen a growing willingness in the evolutionary cognitive science of religion (ECSR) to embrace an inclusive, theoretically pluralistic approach and the emergence of a broad
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Religion is often conceived as a conservative social force that sustains traditional cultural beliefs and behaviors. Religion, however, also exhibits predictable socioecological variation and


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It is argued that the brain plasticity of human adolescence constitutes an “experience expectant” developmental period for ritual conditioning of sacred symbols and it is suggested that such symbols evolved to solve an ecological problem by extending communication and coordination of social relations across time and space.
Religion and Anthropology
This paper is written from the genetic viewpoint and traces the bearings of anthropology and history upon the science of religion. Anthropology shows us that religion is an integral function of the
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  • J. Barrett
  • Philosophy
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000
Shamans and Other “Magico‐Religious” Healers: A Cross‐Cultural Study of Their Origins, Nature, and Social Transformations
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'If religion generated everything that is essential in society, this is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.' In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Emile Durkheim set
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Abstract Footprints and handprints clearly indicate that adolescents took part in the cave rituals of Upper Paleolithic Europe. We argue that the cave paintings were created by transegalitarian
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