Tag Archives: Cognitive Science

A Response to Wesley J. Wildman on “Modelling Religion and the Integration of the Sciences and the Humanities in the Bio-cultural Study of Religion”
By Leonardo Ambasciano

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Following his Albert Moore Memorial Lecture at Otago University, celebrating 50 years of Religious Studies at Otago, Professor Wesley Wildman talks to Thomas White regarding the integration of the sciences and the humanities in his bio-cultural approach to the study of religion.

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While perspectives about conversion are Christian-centric, the idea of conversion itself is religion-centric.

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Religious actions speak louder than words. Dr. Jonathan Lanman on credibility enhancing displays (CREDs), and the role that such public displays of commitment play in the acquisition of both belief and nonbelief.

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This response is a defense of the academic interest in the individual, which I take to be inclusive of the variety of ways that the activities of individuals are constrained, or not, in any given context. All constraints are not equal.

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In the year 2000, English-speaking scholars interested in ‘religion’ were introduced (in translation) to one of the most important texts in the sociology of religion in recent years, Danièle Hervieu-Léger’s “Religion as a Chain of Memory”. This book placed the study of ‘religion and memory’ firmly on the academic agenda,

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Cognitive neuroscientist Merlin Donald discusses the role of ritual in human evolution, and its continued importance in all forms of society and culture. In this interview, Professor Donald outlines his perspective on the evolution of human cognition, and the importance of both embodied communication and mind-sharing networks. He is then asked about the way in which his work has been used in Robert Bellah’s landmark study, Religion in Human Evolution (2011).

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In Stewart Guthrie’s interview with Thomas J. Coleman III for The Religious Studies Project, Guthrie begins by outlining what it means to ‘explain religion’. He defines anthropomorphism as “the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman events” and gives an example of this as applied to auditory and visual phenomena throughout the interview. After discussing some current support for his theory, he presents the purview of scholarship on anthropomorphism stretching back to 500 BCE.

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The RSP Psychology of Religion Participatory Panel Special took place during the International Association for the Psychology of Religion 2013 world congress this August in Switzerland, hosted at the at the University of Lausanne. We asked for the RSP listeners to steer the conversation and YOU responded with tough questions covering a wide variety of topics ranging from “labeling / terminology” and “evolutionary theory as a unifying framework” to “why psychologists of religion hate God” (as it turns out they don’t).

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“…it could be more conceptually misleading to talk about ‘religious violence’ than it would be to talk about ‘violence involving religion’. Whereas the former can appear to refer to a distinct category, the latter phrasing implicitly reminds us that human violence is the broader category and that sometimes religious considerations can be involved in that, among others.”

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“As a psychologist, my emphasis and interest is in the properties of individuals (or the situations of individuals) that underlie behaviors. Given that women are more agreeable and conscientious than men and that they mentalize more than men, it is not surprising that women are more involved in the social and ritual aspects of human behavior and, therefore, with religion.”

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