Will Gervais

Will Gervais is an assistant professor of social psychology and director of the Beliefs and Morality (BAM!) Lab at the University of Kentucky. He is an evolutionary and cultural psychologist who is interested in why people believe what they believe about the world. His research focuses on the cognitive, evolutionary, and cultural forces that facilitate supernatural beliefs—and how these beliefs, in turn, affect cognition, evolution, and culture.

See http://willgervais.com/ for more information.

Selected Publications

  • Gervais, W. M. & Norenzayan, A. (2012). Analytic thinking promotes resligious disbelief. Science, 336, 493-496.
  • Gervais, W. M. & Norenzayan, A. (2012). Reminders of secular authority reduce believers' distrust of atheists. Psychological Science, 23, 483-491.
  • Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2011). Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1189-1206.


Contributions by Will Gervais


God’s Mind, Your Mind, and Theory of Mind

What do God's mind and your mind have in common? A core tenet of cognitive science of religion (CSR) is that the folk-psychological ability to explain human behavior in terms of beliefs, desires and intentions – known as theory of mind (ToM) – is also a system that makes us receptive to belief in the supernatural.