Toward an evolutionary psychology of religion and personality

  title={Toward an evolutionary psychology of religion and personality},
  author={Lee A. Kirkpatrick},
  journal={Journal of Personality},
  • L. Kirkpatrick
  • Published 1 December 1999
  • Psychology
  • Journal of Personality
Evolutionary psychology is an emerging paradigm for the social sciences that offers a powerful metatheoretical framework for personality psychology and, as I attempt to demonstrate in this article, for the psychology of religion as well. I argue that religion is not an evolved adaptation; rather, the diverse range of beliefs, behavior, and experience that we collectively refer to as religion emerge as byproducts of numerous, domain-specific psychological mechanisms that evolved to solve other… 
Convergent pathways between evolutionary psychology and psychology of religion
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It is suggested that ongoing debates in the evolutionary study of religion, such as whether religion is an adaptation or a byproduct, often conflate biological, psychological, and cultural levels of analysis, and often fail to appreciate the indispensible role of the psychological level of analysis between biological andcultural levels.
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Evolutionary theorists have explained universals in religion, but no integrative theory exists to explain why multiple aspects of religion vary within and between individuals and groups. We propose
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This literature study explores the possibility that religion is not an adaptation, but exists for different reasons; non-adaptive traits can persist as by-products of adaptive traits.


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Psychological science is currently in conceptual disarray, characterized by unconnected mini-theories and isolated empirical findings. We lack a theory of the functional properties of the human mind
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What leads a person to become religious? What happens psychologically in a religious experience? Does religion make a person happier, more open, more psychologically healthy, more tolerant, more
Toward a biologically informed psychology of personality.
  • D. Buss
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality
  • 1990
Nine ways in which biological approaches can inform issues of central and long-standing concern to personality psychologists are described.
Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary
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Attachment Theory and Religion: Childhood Attachments, Religious Beliefs, and Conversion*
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Cognitive adaptations for social exchange.
It is argued that humans have a faculty of social cognition, consisting of a rich collection of dedicated, functionally specialized, interrelated modules organized to collectively guide thought and behavior with respect to the evolutionarily recurrent adaptive problems posed by the social world.