The cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion

  title={The cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion},
  author={Joseph A. Bulbulia},
  journal={Biology and Philosophy},
  • J. Bulbulia
  • Published 1 November 2004
  • Psychology
  • Biology and Philosophy
The following reviews recent developments in the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion, and argues for an adaptationist stance. 

Paper Mentions

Blog Post
Evolutionary Science and the Study of Religion
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Introductory essay: Evolutionary science and the study of religion
In this article, we introduce the general rationale behind the evolutionary cognitive science of religion, answer some sensible humanistic objections to it and defend the promise of a ‘consilient’Expand
Theology in the age of cognitive science
ABSTRACT The cognitive science of religion sets out a naturalistic account of religion, in which religious phenomena are grounded in evolved cognitive and moral intuitions. This has importantExpand
The evolution of religious belief in humans: a brief review with a focus on cognition
This review explores developments in the evolutionary cognitive psychology of religion and provides critical evaluation of the different theoretical positions and concludes that the by-product camp enjoys the most support in the scientific community and suggests ways forward for an evolutionarily significant study of religion. Expand
Inclusive fitness theory for the evolution of religion
We describe and evaluate an integrative hypothesis for the origin and evolution of human religious cognition and behaviour, based on maximization of inclusive fitness. By this hypothesis, the conceptExpand
Religious Belief, Evolution of
With the rise of the comparative sciences in the middle of the nineteenth century, major evolutionary schemes were posited. During the first decades of the twentieth century, these theories wereExpand
The behavioral ecology of religion: the benefits and costs of one evolutionary approach
Applying evolutionary analyses to the study of religion is fraught with complications and potential misunderstandings. Most notably, the evolutionary sciences do not offer one clear procedure toExpand
Origins of Religion, Cognition and Culture: Anthropomorphism in god concepts: the role of narrative
There is an emerging consensus among current, cognitive theories of religion that the detection and representation of intentional agents and their actions are fundamental to religion. By no means aExpand
The natural foundations of religion
In the Natural history of religion, Hume attempts to understand the origin of our folk belief in gods and spirits. These investigations are not, however, purely descriptive. Hume demonstrates thatExpand
Brain, Body and Culture: A Biocultural Theory of Religion
This essay sketches out a biocultural theory of religion which is based on an expanded view of cognition that is anchored in brain and body (embrained and embodied), deeply dependent on cultureExpand


How Religion Works: Towards a New Cognitive Science of Religion
This book presents a detailed argument to support the view that religion as a cultural practice cannot be properly explained without knowledge of the evolved cognitive mechanisms by which humansExpand
Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion
Religion is one of the most universal and most studied human phenomena, yet there exists no widely shared definition for it. This ambitious study provides and defends such a definition.
Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity
Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Roy A. Rappaport. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.536 pp.
Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture
This book is an ambitious attempt to develop a cognitive approach to religion. Focusing particularly on ritual action, it borrows analytical methods from linguistics and other cognitive sciences. TheExpand
Exploring the natural foundations of religion
  • J. Barrett
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000
This review examines recent research into religious rituals, communication and transmission of religious knowledge, the development of god-concepts in children, and the origins and character of religious concepts in adults to support the notion that the cultural phenomena typically labeled as 'religion' may be understood as the product of aggregated ordinary cognition. Expand
Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
The first classic of 21st-century anthropology."--John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, University of California, Santa Barbara. Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist PascalExpand
In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion
1. Introduction: An Evolutionary Riddle Part 1: Evolutionary Sources 2. The Mindless Agent: Evolutionary Adaptations and By-Products 3. God's Creation: Evolutionary Origins of the Supernatural PartExpand
Explaining Religion: Criticism and Theory from Bodin to Freud
How is religion to be explained, if the existence of God is not a presupposition? According to J. Samuel Preus, this is the critical question that gave rise to the scientific study of religion andExpand
The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion
Why do people have religious ideas? And why thosereligious ideas? The main theme of Pascal Boyer's work is that important aspects of religious representations are constrained by universal propertiesExpand
Signaling, solidarity, and the sacred: The evolution of religious behavior
These literatures are reviewed and both the proximate mechanisms and ultimate evolutionary processes essential for developing a comprehensive evolutionary explanation of religion are examined. Expand