This volume explores "cognition" in the study of religion - that is, the mental processes that govern religious belief and behavior across cultures and eras. The essays in the volume are scientific in nature and universal in scope. They address (a) the naturalistic meta-theoretical stances taken to epistemologically justify cognitive explanations of religion, (b) the theoretical models of cognition that are employed in the cognitive science of religion, (c) the prominent cognitive theories of religion to date, (d) the methods used to gather data and test theories, and (e) experimental findings by cognitive scientists of religion. The volume is divided into two Parts. Part I includes selections that cover the meta-theories and theories employed by cognitive scientists of religion, and Part II includes experimental studies of religion. Combined, these selections make the volume especially useful for introducing students to the basic framework of the cognitive science of religion as well as to the experimental methods and findings that support cognitive theories of religion.
Religion and Cognition: An Introduction, D. Jason Slone Part I 1. Interpretation and Explanation: Problems and Promise in the Study of Religion, E. T. Lawson & R. N. McCauley 2. The Epidemiology of Beliefs: A Naturalistic Approach, D. Sperber 3. Toward a Topography of Mind: An Introduction to Domain Specificity, L.A. Hirschfeld & S.A. Gelman 4. Exploring the Natural Foundations of Religion, J.L. Barrett 5. Are Children Intuitive Theists? Reasoning and Purpose in Design and Nature, D. Kelemen Part II 6. Anthropomorphism and God Concepts: Conceptualizing a Non-Natural Entity, J.L Barrett & F.C. Keil 7. Spreading Non-Natural Concepts: The Role of Intuitive Conceptual Structures in Memory and Transmission in Culture, J.L. Barrett & M.A. Nyhof 8. Cognitive Templates for Religious Concepts: Cross-Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counter-Intuitive Representations, P. Boyer & C. Ramble 9. Ritual Intuitions: Cognitive Contributions to Judgments of Ritual Efficacy, J.L. Barrett & E.T. Lawson 10. Cognitive and Contextual Factors in the Emergence of Diverse Belief Systems: Creation vs. Evolution, E.M. Evans 11. Children's Attributes of Beliefs to Humans and God: Cross-Cultural Evidence, N. Knight, P. Sousa, J. Barrett, & S. Atran 12. The Natural Emergence of Afterlife Reasoning as a Developmental Regularity, J. Bering & D. Bjorklund 13. Modes of Research: Combining Cognitive Psychology and Anthropology through Whitehouse's Modes of Religiosity, R.A. Richert