The cognitive science of religion examines the mental processes that govern religious belief and behaviour. It offers a fresh and exciting approach to the scientific study of religion. Religion and Cognition brings together key essays which outline the theory and illustrate this with experimental case material. The central topics in this new critical field of research are all addressed: meta-theoretical arguments for cognitive explanations of religion; theoretical models of cognition employed in the cognitive science of religion; prominent cognitive theories of religion; methods used to gather data and test theories; and experimental findings by cognitive scientists of religion. Contributors: Scott Atran, Justin L. Barrett, Jesse Bering, David F. Bjorklund, Pascal Boyer, E. Margaret Evans, Susan A. Gelman, Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, Frank C. Keil, Deborah Kelemen, Nicola Knight, E. Thomas Lawson, Robert N. McCauley, Melanie A. Nyhof, Charles Ramble, Rebekah A. Richert, Paulo Sousa, Dan Sperber.
Religion and Cognition: An Introduction, D. Jason Slone Part I 1. Interpretation and Explanation: Problems and Promise in the Study of Religion, E. Thomas Lawson & Robert N. McCauley 2. The Epidemiology of Beliefs: A Naturalistic Approach, Dan Sperber 3. Toward a Topography of Mind: An Introduction to Domain Specificity, Lawrence A. Hirschfeld & Susan A. Gelman 4. Exploring the Natural Foundations of Religion, Justin L. Barrett 5. Are Children "Intuitive Theists"? Reasoning about Purpose in Design and Nature, Deborah Kelemen Part II 6. Conceptualizing a Non-Natural Entity: Anthropomorphism and God Concepts, Justin L. Barrett & Frank C. Keil 7. Spreading Non-Natural Concepts: The Role of Intuitive Conceptual Structures in Memory and Transmission in Culture, Justin L. Barrett & Melanie .A. Nyhof 8. Cognitive Templates for Religious Concepts: Cross-Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counter-Intuitive Representations, Pascal Boyer & Charles Ramble 9. Ritual Intuitions: Cognitive Contributions to Judgments of Ritual Efficacy, Justin L. Barrett & E. Thomas Lawson 10. Cognitive and Contextual Factors in the Emergence of Diverse Belief Systems: Creation versus Evolution, E. Margaret Evans 11. Children's Attributes of Beliefs to Humans and God: Cross-Cultural Evidence, Nicola Knight, Paulo Sousa, Justin L. Barrett, & Scott Atran 12. The Natural Emergence of Afterlife Reasoning as a Developmental Regularity, Jesse Bering & David F. Bjorklund 13. Modes of Research: Combining Cognitive Psychology and Anthropology through Whitehouse's Modes of Religiosity, Rebekah .A. Richert