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date: 19 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The pancultural presence of religious beliefs suggests that children’s ordinary development may incline them toward such beliefs. Various cognitive processes that mature during this time period may enable and encourage religion. Such processes include the ability to distinguish agents from objects, think about the mental states of other agents, see purpose in the world, and view agents dualistically. The generation and persistence of religious beliefs may also be a product of their violation of certain intuitive ontologies, as such violations are more memorable for younger individuals. The naturalness of religion is discussed, and evolutionary accounts of religion as an adaptation and byproduct are presented.

Keywords: belief, naturalness, religion, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology

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