Recent cognitive approaches to the study of religion have yielded much understanding by focusing on common psychological processes that all humans share. One leading theory, Harvey WhitehouseOs modes of religiosity theory, demonstrates how two distinct modes of organizing and transmitting religious traditions emerge from different ways of activating universal memory systems. In Mind and Religion, top scholars from biology to religious studies question, test, evaluate and challenge WhitehouseOs sweeping thesis. The result is an up-to-date snapshot of the cognitive science of religion field for classes in psychology, anthropology, or history of religion.
Harvey Whitehouse is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queen's University Belfast. Robert N. McCauley is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta. He is the author, with E. Thomas Lawson, of Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture (1990) and Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms (2002).
1 Introduction Part 2 The Theoretical Context 3 A Reductionistic Model of Distinct Modes of Religious Transmission 4 Modes Theory: Some Theoretical Considerations 5 Ritual Form and Ritual Frequency 6 Divergent Religion: A Dual-Process Model of Religious Thought, Behavior, and Structure 7 Rethinking Naturalness: Modes of Religiosity and Religion in the Round Part 8 Testing the Modes Theory 9 In the Empirical Mode: Evidence Needed for the Modes of Religiosity 10 Memory and Analogical Thinking in High-Arousal Rituals Part 11 Wider Applications 12 The Modes Theory Helps Explain Conversion Phenomena 13 Charisma, Tradition and Ritual: A Cognitive Approach to Magical Agency 14 Why Religions Develop Free Will Problems 15 The Cognitive Foundations of Religiosity