Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The mental representations and behaviors we commonly call “religious”—everyday supernatural imagination, tribal cults, archaic religions, modern world religions—are amenable to explanation both in terms of computational, information-processing systems and in terms of adaptations that emerged during human evolution. These two research programs, focused on proximate and ultimate aspects of cultural representations respectively, have been particularly fruitful in the last 30 years. Early developments in cognitive approaches ushered in a whole new field in the study of religion. More recently, evolutionary psychology has provided new tools for explaining the emergence and transmission of religious ideas. This chapter aims to show how this cognitive and evolutionary approach can provide a better understanding of the historical diversity of religious systems.

Keywords: religion, evolution, cooperation, morality, Axial Age

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.