Article

Religion, synchrony, and cooperation

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  • Leibniz ScienceCampus
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Abstract

Shared beliefs about supernatural agents and joint engagement in ritual activities are often proposed to engender cohesion and cooperation within religious communities. We report the results of an experiment that investigated the effects of religious-concept priming and synchronous activity among Brazilian drummers. Participants were divided into two between-subjects narrative priming conditions: religious and secular. Within each priming condition, we applied a within-subjects design to investigate effects of solo, group synchronous, and group non-synchronous drumming on endorphin release and cooperation. We found an effect of priming conditions, such that there was a trend toward higher cooperation in the religiously primed group compared to the secularly primed group. We found neither a main effect of the drumming condition nor a drumming-priming interaction effect. Results suggest that behavioral synchrony alone is insufficient to increase cooperation. In light of previous findings, we propose that high levels of physical exertion or social-cognitive mechanisms, such as overlapping task-representation or intentional coordination, are also required for cooperation.

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... In laboratory studies, interpersonal synchrony has been explored in a vast of forms. Some researchers have focused on spontaneous behavioral outputs, such as synchronized behavior during singing (Pearce et al., 2016), dancing (Tarr et al., 2016), drumming (Cohen et al., 2014), piano playing (Keller et al., 2007), eye movement (Richardson et al., 2005), pupil change (Kang & Wheatley, 2017), and body posture sway (Shockley et al., 2007). Others directly instructed two or more persons to synchronize their movements with the partner (e.g., walking, stepping, rowing, tapping finger, and rocking chair; Cohen et al., 2010;Jackson et al., 2018;Oullier et al., 2008;Richardson et al., 2007;Van Ulzen et al., 2008), or asked persons to move with the same stimulus (e.g., a piece of rhythm) so that they moved in sync (e.g., clapping, waving, and rocking body; Cirelli, Einarson, & Trainor, 2014;Lakens & Stel, 2011;Valdesolo & Desteno, 2011). ...
... Moreover, the prosocial effects of interpersonal synchrony are present in various conditions of behavioral synchrony, including in-phase and anti-phase synchrony , real and virtual/imagined synchrony (Nakano et al., 2018;Tarr et al., 2018), being involved in and hearing/observing synchrony (Fessler & Holbrook, 2016;Lakens & Stel, 2011). The positive effects are also stabilized across age groups, including infants (Tuncgenc et al., 2015), children (Kirschner & Tomasello, 2010;Rabinowitch & Knafo-Noam, 2015), adolescents (Tarret al., 2015), and adults (Anshel & Kipper, 1988;Cohen et al., 2014;Good et al., 2017). Further, such effects not only occur in typical populations, but also exist in atypical populations. ...
... However, the evidence for the above psychological mechanisms is mixed, with some studies failing to find the role of perceived similarity (Hu et al., 2017), positive emotion (Reddish, Fischer, & Bulbulia, 2013;Schachner & Garvin, 2010;Wiltermuth & Heath, 2009) or social bonding (Cohen et al., 2014;Fischer et al., 2013;Reddish, Fischer, & Bulbulia, 2013;Wiltermuth & Heath, 2009) in the effects of interpersonal synchrony. In addition, the findings of some studies seem inconsistent with the assumptions. ...
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Interpersonal synchrony, the time-matching behaviors, is pervasive in human interactions. This resonation of movements or other forms was generally considered as one of critical survival skills for humans, as the important consequences of synchronizing with other persons in review of the empirical data in this article. These include positive affects towards and between interacting partners, but also include complex effects on the individual level. The intrapersonal effects of interpersonal synchrony are varied with positive or negative ones, including cognitive style, attitude bias, mood state, self-regulatory ability, and academic performance. At the interpersonal level, synchronized movement consistently affects the interaction with the partner and his/her affiliations, but they can be eliminated or magnified by several moderators, such as physiological arousal, shared intentionality, group bias, and musical rhythm. Finally, the research discussed the possible mechanisms underlying the effects of interpersonal synchrony in psychological and biological aspects.
... People who move synchronously with each other are perceived as having higher entitativity (Lakens, 2010) and perceptions of entitativity are mediated by psychological attributions, such as assuming that synchronous partners feel the same, or that they like each other more (Lakens and Stel, 2011). Similarly, from a first-person perspective, interactants report feeling more connected and as part of the same team upon performing synchronous movements (Wiltermuth and Heath, 2009;Cohen et al., 2013). The results of the present study support the entitativity account, as evidenced by reports of increased connectedness, togetherness and closeness in the synchrony condition. ...
... Finally, it would be productive to investigate how movement synchrony influences bonds across group members in intergroup settings in adults. Despite the vast literature on dyadic social bonding effects of synchrony in adults, there have been relatively fewer studies on synchrony-induced bonding within groups (e.g., Cohen et al., 2013;Reddish et al., 2013;Davis et al., 2015;Tarr et al., 2015). To our knowledge, no study has examined how synchrony influences inter-group dynamics or group-related biases. ...
Article
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Group dynamics play an important role in the social interactions of both children and adults. A large amount of research has shown that merely being allocated to arbitrarily defined groups can evoke disproportionately positive attitudes toward one's in-group and negative attitudes toward out-groups, and that these biases emerge in early childhood. This prompts important empirical questions with far-reaching theoretical and applied significance. How robust are these inter-group biases? Can biases be mitigated by behaviors known to bond individuals and groups together? How can bonds be forged across existing group divides? To explore these questions, we examined the bonding effects of interpersonal synchrony on minimally constructed groups in a controlled experiment. In-group and out-group bonding were assessed using questionnaires administered before and after a task in which groups performed movements either synchronously or non-synchronously in a between-participants design. We also developed an implicit behavioral measure, the Island Game, in which physical proximity was used as an indirect measure of interpersonal closeness. Self-report and behavioral measures showed increased bonding between groups after synchronous movement. Bonding with the out-group was significantly higher in the condition in which movements were performed synchronously than when movements were performed non-synchronously between groups. The findings are discussed in terms of their importance for the developmental social psychology of group dynamics as well as their implications for applied intervention programs.
... Key empirical studies show that components of religious systems can effectively curb selfish behavior and harness our sociality in important ways. A variety of prox- imate mechanisms grounded in human psychology are currently under consideration in this bur- geoning field, including but not limited to ritual (Atkinson & Whitehouse, 2011;Soler, 2012;Sosis, 2005;Sosis & Bressler, 2003;Sosis, Kress, & Boster, 2007;Sosis & Ruffle, 2003), behavioral and mental synchrony (Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014), fear of supernatural retribution (Johnson, 2005;Johnson & Krüger, 2004;Schloss & Murray, 2011), and supernatural monitoring (Atkinson & Bourrat, 2011;Norenzayan et al., 2016;Piazza, Bering, & Ingram, 2011). ...
... Experimental studies that have sampled from diverse populations have faced other limitations. Some notable studies (Cohen et al., 2014;Sosis & Bressler, 2003;Sosis & Ruffle, 2003;Xygalatas, 2013) have focused on non-Western samples, but are limited insofar as their samples are mono-cultural, preventing cross-cultural comparisons and generalizations. In a previous effort that heralded the current project, a set of cross-cultural economic experiments investigated the link between religion and prosocial behavior, while targeting 15 societies ranging from foragers to horticulturalists, farmers, and wage workers. ...
Article
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Understanding the expansion of human sociality and cooperation beyond kith and kin remains an important evolutionary puzzle. There is likely a complex web of processes including institutions, norms, and practices that contributes to this phenomenon. Considerable evidence suggests that one such process involves certain components of religious systems that may have fostered the expansion of human cooperation in a variety of ways, including both certain forms of rituals and commitment to particular types of gods. Using an experimental economic game, our team specifically tested whether or not individually held mental models of moralistic, punishing, and knowledgeable gods curb biases in favor of the self and the local community, and increase impartiality toward geographically distant anonymous co-religionists. Our sample includes 591 participants from eight diverse societies – iTaukei (indigenous) Fijians who practice both Christianity and ancestor worship, the animist Hadza of Tanzania, Hindu Indo-Fijians, Hindu Mauritians, shamanist-Buddhist Tyvans of southern Siberia, traditional Inland and Christian Coastal Vanuatuans from Tanna, and Christian Brazilians from Pesqueiro. In this article, we present cross-cultural evidence that addresses this question and discuss the implications and limitations of our project. This volume also offers detailed, site-specific reports to provide further contextualization at the local level.
... However, this overall picture conceals important methodological limitations. Controlled synchrony and non-synchrony in the laboratory is typically achieved either via direct or implied instruction to synchronize (or not) with co-participant(s) 5,15 , and/or by providing an individual auditory and/or visual rhythmic stimulus for each participant to follow irrespective of others' behaviors (e.g., via personal headphones) -in the synchrony condition, individual stimuli are synchronized, while in the non-synchronous condition, stimuli vary across participants 1,[16][17][18][19] . Other elements of the 'jointness' of the activity are sometimes varied to facilitate synchrony vs. non-synchrony 15 . ...
... The purported prosocial effects of such activities (compared with non-synchronous singing, dancing, marching, etc.) in the lab could in fact result from the violation of tacit expectations of coordination in the non-synchrony condition and/or congruence with expectation in the synchrony condition. Moreover, when a normatively 'together' activity, such as drumming, is individualized for laboratory control (e.g., using personal headphones), the relevance of coordination/synchrony among participants potentially diminishes, leading to weaker or null effects 16 . ...
Article
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Synchronising movements in time with others can have significant positive effects on affiliative attitudes and behaviors. To explore the generalizability of synchrony effects, and to eliminate confounds of suggestion, competence and shared intention typical of standard laboratory and field experiments, we used an Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) environment. Participants, represented as virtual humans, took part in a joint movement activity with two other programmed virtual humans. The timings of the co-participant characters' movements were covertly manipulated to achieve synchrony or non-synchrony with the focal participant. Participants in the synchrony condition reported significantly greater social closeness to their virtual co-participants than those in the non-synchrony condition. Results indicate that synchrony in joint action causes positive social effects and that these effects are robust in a VR setting. The research can potentially inform the development of VR interventions for social and psychological wellbeing.
... The EOS has therefore been proposed as a neurohormonal factor in human social bonding (or in experiences of intersubjective affiliation), based on a broadly evolutionary argument for the adaptive advantage of social coordination. Some research has suggested that strongly exertive activity is required for the EOS to be activated [42], and thus raises questions about the extent to which such a mechanism is relevant to so-called passive listening to music. Cohen et al. [42] suggest that routine, or simply 'mechanical' synchronous group movement may not be sufficient to increase cohesion and cooperation among participants, and that high levels of physical exertion or shared task-representations and intentions, may also be required. ...
... Some research has suggested that strongly exertive activity is required for the EOS to be activated [42], and thus raises questions about the extent to which such a mechanism is relevant to so-called passive listening to music. Cohen et al. [42] suggest that routine, or simply 'mechanical' synchronous group movement may not be sufficient to increase cohesion and cooperation among participants, and that high levels of physical exertion or shared task-representations and intentions, may also be required. However a study by Kreutz [134] showed that choral singing led to increased subjective measures of wellbeing and higher levels of oxytocin in saliva samples than did an equivalent period of social conversation, providing evidence for a neurohormonal response in the absence of a high level of physical exertion. ...
Article
In the age of the Internet and with the dramatic proliferation of mobile listening technologies, music has unprecedented global distribution and embeddedness in people's lives. It is a source of intense experiences of both the most intimate and solitary, and public and collective, kinds - from an individual with their smartphone and headphones, to large-scale live events and global simulcasts; and it increasingly brings together a huge range of cultures and histories, through developments in world music, sampling, the re-issue of historical recordings, and the explosion of informal and home music-making that circulates via YouTube. For many people, involvement with music can be among the most powerful and potentially transforming experiences in their lives. At the same time, there has been increasing interest in music's communicative and affective capacities, and its potential to act as an agent of social bonding and affiliation. This review critically discusses a considerable body of research and scholarship, across disciplines ranging from the neuroscience and psychology of music to cultural musicology and the sociology and anthropology of music, that provides evidence for music's capacity to promote empathy and social/cultural understanding through powerful affective, cognitive and social factors; and explores ways in which to connect and make sense of this disparate evidence (and counter-evidence). It reports the outcome of an empirical study that tests one aspect of those claims, demonstrating that 'passive' listening to the music of an unfamiliar culture can significantly change the cultural attitudes of listeners with high dispositional empathy; presents a model that brings together the primary components of the music and empathy research into a single framework; and considers both some of the applications, and some of the shortcomings and problems, of understanding music from the perspective of empathy.
... However, not all experimental studies have found an effect of synchrony on cooperation, especially when other intervening variables were taken into account. Cohen, Mundry and Kirschner (2014) show there is a trend toward higher cooperation in groups exposed to religious priming compared to those exposed to secular priming. Thus, neither a main effect from synchronized drumming nor an interactional effect from drumming and religious priming was found. ...
Article
Full-text available
Since Durkheim (2002 [1912]), it has been recognised that ritual can serve as a means of strengthening intra-group solidarity. Mutual help and emotional arousal connected with rituals may help the participants cope with adversities. Collective rituals have thus become one of the tools for adapting to environmental conditions. Several theories try to clarify the mechanism by which this adaptation happens. One’s investment of time, money, and other personal resources into collective activities, including rituals, may serve as a commitment signal and thus enhance group solidarity. However, rituals are not the only way the group members signal their commitment. Therefore, the fundamental question is whether rituals offer anything unique compared to other types of joint coordinated activity. Atran and Henrich (2010) provide a hypothesis based on some of the characteristics of rituals that observed all over the world. According to them, religious rituals often involve various components to promote faith and devotion by stimulating certain emotions. The primary tools in this context are music, rhythm, and synchronization of body movements. In this ethnographic case study from Bosnia, I compare three confessional communities (Sunni Muslims, Roman Catholics, and Sufi dervishes). They inhabit the same geographic area but differ in the character of their ritual performances regarding synchronization and use of rhythmic activities. The highest degree of in-group solidarity is expected in the group whose rituals involve rhythm and synchronization of body movements to the greatest extent.
... It is rare that they can ever be fully separated. In a telling parallel to the priming studies mentioned above, experimental studies investigating whether elements of ritual (singing, synchronous movement, pain) can foster cohesion have suggested that the physical experience alone may not be enough (e.g., Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014;Reddish, Fischer, & Bulbulia, 2013). It is when action is undertaken with a sense of commitment and purpose that it may be most potent. ...
... Perceiving interaction partners as part of oneself may lead to feeling closer to them (Overy & Molnar-Szakacs, 2009), as shown by studies on synchronous movement and singing Weinstein et al., 2015). However, the evidence for overlap-mediated synchrony is mixed, with some studies failing to find a direct relationship (Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2013;Fischer, Callander, Reddish, & Bulbulia, 2013;Reddish et al., 2013;Wiltermuth & Heath, 2009). ...
Article
Behavioural synchronization has been shown to facilitate social bonding and cooperation but the mechanisms through which such effects are attained are poorly understood. In the current study, participants interacted with a pre-recorded confederate who exhibited different rates of synchrony, and we investigated three mechanisms for the effects of synchrony on likeability and trusting behaviour: self-other overlap, perceived cooperation, and opioid system activation measured via pain threshold. We show that engaging in highly synchronous behaviour activates all three mechanisms, and that these mechanisms mediate the effects of synchrony on liking and investment in a Trust Game. Specifically, self-other overlap and perceived cooperation mediated the effects of synchrony on interpersonal liking, while behavioural trust was mediated only by change in pain threshold. These results suggest that there are multiple compatible pathways through which synchrony influences social attitudes, but endogenous opioid system activation, such as β-endorphin release, might be important in facilitating economic cooperation.
... That signal is processed in a way that heightens our empathetic sensitivity to others who participate in the ritual, and this primes our empathetic concern for such individuals, thus facilitating increased and extended prosocial behavior. There is also evidence that participation in synchronous movement, which is characteristic of many religious practices and has been linked to increased prosociality, also activates our empathy system (Behrends, Muller, & Dziobek, 2012;Cohen, Mundry, & Kirshner, 2014;Reddish, Bulbulia, & Fisher, 2014;Valdesolo, & DeSteno, 2011). This constitutes another component of the religion-morality nexus-and both of these components function independent of the moral concerns of the gods. ...
Chapter
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and Keywords The relationship between religion and morality is a subject of widespread interest and intense debate: Is morality a product of religion? Can one be moral without religion? Can moral claims be justified outside of a religious context? These are important questions that have been subject to much investigation by theologians and philosophers, among others. Evolutionary studies provide a different way into this topic. Morality has long been a subject for evolutionary research, but an evolutionary approach to religion, based on research into the evolution of the brain, is a recent development, and one that is developing a substantial empirical grounding. Drawing on the insights from both of these fields, this chapter sets out the evolved cognitive mechanisms that constitute the nexus of religion and morality. In addition to providing insight into the nature of religious morality, this model may also help clarify the role religion played in human evolution.
... That signal is processed in a way that heightens our empathetic sensitivity to others who participate in the ritual, and this primes our empathetic concern for such individuals, thus facilitating increased and extended prosocial behavior. There is also evidence that participation in synchronous movement, which is characteristic of many religious practices and has been linked to increased prosociality, also activates our empathy system (Behrends, Muller, & Dziobek, 2012; Cohen, Mundry, & Kirshner, 2014; Reddish, Bulbulia, & Fisher, 2014; Valdesolo, & DeSteno, 2011). This constitutes another component of the religion-morality nexus—and both of these components function independent of the moral concerns of the gods. ...
Chapter
and Keywords The relationship between religion and morality is a subject of widespread interest and intense debate: Is morality a product of religion? Can one be moral without religion? Can moral claims be justified outside of a religious context? These are important questions that have been subject to much investigation by theologians and philosophers, among others. Evolutionary studies provide a different way into this topic. Morality has long been a subject for evolutionary research, but an evolutionary approach to religion, based on research into the evolution of the brain, is a recent development, and one that is developing a substantial empirical grounding. Drawing on the insights from both of these fields, this chapter sets out the evolved cognitive mechanisms that constitute the nexus of religion and morality. In addition to providing insight into the nature of religious morality, this model may also help clarify the role religion played in human evolution.
... Accumulating experimental evidence on the link between behavioral synchrony and cooperation presents mixed findings about the conditions under which synchrony affects cooperation. Study 1 replicates findings from similar studies that found no effect of synchrony on cooperation when it was isolated from intentions to synchronize or achieve joint goals [16,17,40]. These findings are perhaps unsurprising given that most real world instances of behavioral synchrony involve explicit shared intentions to act in synchrony (e.g. ...
Article
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In two experimental studies, we investigated mechanisms hypothesized to underpin two pervasive and interrelated phenomena: that certain forms of group movement and exercise lead to social bonding and that social bonding can lead to enhanced exercise performance. In Study 1, we manipulated synchrony and exercise intensity among rowers and found that, compared with low intensity exercise, moderate intensity exercise led to significantly higher levels of cooperation in an economic game; no effect of synchrony vs. non-synchrony was found. In Study 2, we investigated the effects of bonding on performance, using synchrony as a cue of existing supportive social bonds among participants. An elite, highly bonded team of rugby players participated in solo, synchronized, and non-synchronized warm-up sessions; participants' anaerobic performance significantly improved after the brief synchronous warm-up relative to the non-synchronous warm-up. The findings substantiate claims concerning the reciprocal links between group exercise and social bonding, and may help to explain the ubiquity of collective physical activity across cultural domains as varied as play, ritual, sport, and dance.
... As shown in Figure 2A, nine participants sat in a circle (about 1.5 m in diameter) in a wide room, each with a drum. They drummed together and tried their best to make their beats consistent with each other, a traditional social interaction task which closely mimics some situations in daily life (Cohen et al., 2014). During the drumming, the brain activities from two regions (the prefrontal cortex and the left temporal parietal junction, Figure 2B) of all nine participants were simultaneously recorded. ...
Article
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Studying the neural basis of human social interactions is a key topic in the field of social neuroscience. Brain imaging studies in this field usually focus on the neural correlates of the social interactions between two participants. However, as the participant number further increases, even by a small amount, great difficulties raise. One challenge is how to concurrently scan all the interacting brains with high ecological validity, especially for a large number of participants. The other challenge is how to effectively model the complex group interaction behaviors emerging from the intricate neural information exchange among a group of socially organized people. Confronting these challenges, we propose a new approach called "Cluster Imaging of Multi-brain Networks" (CIMBN). CIMBN consists of two parts. The first part is a cluster imaging technique with high ecological validity based on multiple functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) systems. Using this technique, we can easily extend the simultaneous imaging capacity of social neuroscience studies up to dozens of participants. The second part of CIMBN is a multi-brain network (MBN) modeling method based on graph theory. By taking each brain as a network node and the relationship between any two brains as a network edge, one can construct a network model for a group of interacting brains. The emergent group social behaviors can then be studied using the network's properties, such as its topological structure and information exchange efficiency. Although there is still much work to do, as a general framework for hyperscanning and modeling a group of interacting brains, CIMBN can provide new insights into the neural correlates of group social interactions, and advance social neuroscience and social psychology.
... In addition, our participants had repeated exposure to the same synchronous activity (6 times over 2 weeks) and had the presence of an out-group, unlike previous research's single exposure with no out-group (Kirschner & Tomasello, 2010). Other research, however, suggests that synchrony may not be sufficient to increase prosociality and cooperation with in-group members (Cohen et al., 2013) and may even increase prosociality towards out-group members in adults. Notably, previous research has only examined a single exposure to a synchronous group activity. ...
Article
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This study examined the impact of ritual participation on children’s in-group affiliation (N = 71, 4-11-year-old children). A novel social group paradigm was used in an afterschool program to test the influence of a ritual versus a control task on a measure of affiliation with in-group versus out-group members. The data support the hypothesis that the experience of participating in a ritual increases in-group affiliation to a greater degree than group activity alone. The results provide insight into the early-developing preference for in-group members and are consistent with the proposal that rituals facilitate in-group cohesion. We propose that humans are psychologically prepared to engage in ritual as a means of in-group affiliation.
... Attesting to the robustness of the effect of synchrony on cooperative behaviors, this result has since been replicated in more naturalistic settings (Cohen et al., 2010), and amongst diverse cultural groups (Cohen et al., 2013;Fischer et al., 2013). Further, the reported sensitivity to synchrony amongst conspecifics in promoting prosocial behaviors develops early (Kirschner and Tomasello, 2010) and emerges in infants as young as 14 months (Cirelli et al., 2014a). ...
Article
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Theory of mind refers to the abilities underlying the capacity to reason about one's own and others' mental states. This ability is critical for predicting and making sense of the actions of others, is essential for efficient communication, fosters social learning, and provides the foundation for empathic concern. Clearly, there is incredible value in fostering theory of mind. Unfortunately, despite being the focus of a wealth of research over the last 40 years relatively little is known about specific strategies for fostering social perspective taking abilities. We provide a discussion of the rationale for applying one specific strategy for fostering efficient theory of mind-that of engaging in "behavioral synchrony" (i.e., the act of keeping together in time with others). Culturally evolved collective rituals involving synchronous actions have long been held to act as social glue. Specifically, here we present how behavioral synchrony tunes our minds for reasoning about other minds in the process of fostering social coordination and cooperation, and propose that we can apply behavioral synchrony as a tool for enhancing theory of mind.
... Our quantitative field study of ritual synchrony is only one example of the sort of quasi-experimental research that is becoming increasingly commonplace in the CSR [see: (Cohen, Mundry and Kirschner 2013;Konvalinka et al. 2011;Xygalatas 2013;Xygalatas, Konvalinka, Roepstoff and Bulbulia 2011;Xygalatas et al. 2013;Xygalatas, Schjødt, Bulbulia, Konvalinka and Jegindo 2013)]. Though all models must simplify to understand, quasi-experimental studies are exposing a richness and subtlety within collective activities that has so far eluded qualitative ethnography. ...
Article
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The Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) is becoming increasingly experimental. Its methods are winning the hearts of next-generation humanities scholars of religion. Yet many present-generation humanities scholars of religion remain unaware of recent advances and have yet to participate. I hope to persuade such scholars that it is worth attempting collaborative science. CSR research will benefit from a fuller participation of mature humanities scholars of religion because their training affords a rich knowledge of religious facts. By the same token, humanities scholars of religion should be interested in scientific approaches because cumulative intellectual progress in every empirical discipline relies on hypothesis-driven research. My argument comes in three parts. First, I clarify the exciting possibilities for cumulative intellectual progress that hypothesis-driven research uniquely affords. Second, I describe recent advances from humanities/CSR collaborations, hazarding a few predictions about what to expect next. Third, I offer practical advice to humanities scholars about how to pursue productive CSR collaborations.
... It seems that strong identification with the collective may have unique explanatory and predictive power when trying to understand human behavior, and the fields of evolutionary anthropology and social neuroscience have begun to recognize its importance to their work (Bowles, 2009;Cacioppo & Cacioppo, 2012;Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2013). Adding the term ''Homo duplex'' to our analytical toolkit might prompt more exploration of collective states and activities, but we must always keep in mind that we can think of the Homo duplex aspect of human nature as being built on top of or coexisting with Homo economicus and Homo heuristicus. ...
... It is rare that they can ever be fully separated. In a telling parallel to the priming studies mentioned above, experimental studies investigating whether elements of ritual (singing, synchronous movement, pain) can foster cohesion have suggested that the physical experience alone may not be enough (e.g., Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014;Reddish, Fischer, & Bulbulia, 2013). It is when action is undertaken with a sense of commitment and purpose that it may be most potent. ...
... It is rare that they can ever be fully separated. In a telling parallel to the priming studies mentioned above, experimental studies investigating whether elements of ritual (singing, synchronous movement, pain) can foster cohesion have suggested that the physical experience alone may not be enough (e.g., Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014;Reddish, Fischer, & Bulbulia, 2013). It is when action is undertaken with a sense of commitment and purpose that it may be most potent. ...
... It is rare that they can ever be fully separated. In a telling parallel to the priming studies mentioned above, experimental studies investigating whether elements of ritual (singing, synchronous movement, pain) can foster cohesion have suggested that the physical experience alone may not be enough (e.g., Reddish et al 2013, Cohen et al 2014. It is when action is undertaken with a sense of commitment and purpose that it may be most potent. ...
... People have a natural capacity to form cooperative groups and build coalitions (Boyd and Richerson, 2005). This may facilitate belief in religions that promote a convergence of opinion towards one normative belief structure, advertised by the display of common coalitional markers, including tattoos, attire, grooming habits, and synchronized or ritualized behavior (McCauley & Lawson, 2002;Cohen et al., 2014). These may also suffice as contextual cues for kinship detection (Whitehouse & Lanman, 2014). ...
... Several proximate mechanisms have been proposed to explain this causal relationship between religious behavior and cooperation, many of which posit that communal rituals harness input and output of reliably-developing psychosomatic systems (Legare and Nielsen, 2020), including rhythms and synchrony (e.g., Lang et al., 2017;Reddish et al., 2014;Wiltermuth andHeath, 2009, cf. Wood et al. 2018), experiencing collective pain (e.g., Mitkidis et al., 2017;Xygalatas et al., 2013a), dysphoria (Whitehouse, 1996), and euphoria (Russell et al., 2012;Whitehouse and Lanman, 2014), features which might be most potent at promoting cooperation when combined (e.g., Cohen et al., 2014). ...
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Since the earliest days of the social sciences, the relationship between religion and cooperation has been a central topic. In this chapter, we critically review some cultural evolutionary perspectives on religion and cooperation and consider how they frame the relationships among religious beliefs, behaviors, and the moral rules that motivate cooperation. We then offer an account of how religious systems can contribute to the stability of social life more generally, with cooperative dilemmas occupying a subset of a broader range of socioecological challenges that supernatural appeals might help resolve. We also provide a critical overview of popular methods used throughout much of the contemporary work on religion and cooperation. In doing so, we provide useful ways forward for testing how appeals to gods, spirits, and other supernatural forces can, in at least some cases, address locally important challenges to cooperation.
... These include, but are not restricted to, the synchronised production of rhythmic music, laughter, singing, dancing and chanting (see Dezeache and Dunbar 2012;Tarr et al., 2014Tarr et al., , 2016Weinstein et al., 2016). In fact, a wide range of physically exertive activities stimulate the endorphin system much more effectively when they are performed in synchrony than when they are performed in isolation or asynchronously (see Cohen et al., 2014;Hove & Risen, 2009;Lakens & Stel, 2011;Páez et al., 2015;Pearce et al., 2015;Reddish et al., 2014;Tarr et al., 2015;Weinstein et al., 2016). ...
Article
Recent years have seen a growing willingness in the evolutionary cognitive science of religion (ECSR) to embrace an inclusive, theoretically pluralistic approach and the emergence of a broad consensus around some key themes that collectively constitute a central theoretical core of the field. Nevertheless, ECSR still raises serious problems for some in the humanities. In exploring the reasons for the perception of conflict between humanistic and cognitive evolutionary approaches to religion, I suggest that both ECSR’s default account of the origins of religion and religion’s role in social bonding rely upon notions of culturally unmediated universal cognitive mechanisms that preclude alternative humanistic explanations. I subsequently suggest that the gap between humanistic approaches and the evolutionary study of religion more broadly conceived may be narrowed by further expanding ECSR to include recent research into the brain opioid theory of social attachment (BOTSA), which emphasises the emotional rather than cognitive basis of religion’s social bonding functions. Finally, I outline a possible evolutionary account of the earliest forms of religious ideas and practices, which decouples the origins of religion from the evolution of specialised cognitive machinery and which humanists are likely to find more amenable than mainstream ECSR.
... There is an increasing agreement among anthropologists (Norenzayan 2013Cohen, Mundry, Kirschner 2013Dávid-Barrett and Carney 2016) that awareness of the existence of something greater than ourselves permits the process of socialization and, as a consequence, the formation of larger social structures. Without transcendence, without something existing beyond 'here and now' there would be no public sphere. ...
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This article proposes an idea of radical urban contextualisation that follows Rudolf Otto’s discussion on an encounter with the Absolute Other. The article critically reviews current applications of postsecularism to urban theory formulated in a general framework of Jurgen Habermas' intervention in the early 21st century. The article argues that contemporary postsecular urban theory cannot fully answer fundamental challenges that contemporary cities are facing - both political and environmental - mostly because it focuses on linguistic and cultural aspects of a city. The article proposes the ‘radicalization’ of postsecularism, engaging directly with the ‘religious experience’ defined by Rudolf Otto as an encounter with ‘The Absolute Other’ - the unknown and unpredictable. ‘The Absolute Other’ notion allows to ultimately contextualise every urban situation in order to formulate conditions for future-oriented (post-capitalist) urbanism.
... • The recurrent features of rituals, ritualized actions and their representation ( Legare et al. 2015;Watson-Jones et al. in press;Cohen et al. 2014;Fischer et al. 2014;Xygalatas et al. 2011;Boyer and Liénard 2006;Atran 2002;Whitehouse 2004;McCauley and Lawson 2002). ...
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It is widely thought that the cognitive science of religion (CSR) may have a bearing on the epistemic status of religious beliefs and on other topics in philosophy of religion. Epistemologists have used theories from CSR to argue both for and against the rationality of religious beliefs, or they have claimed that CSR is neutral vis-à-vis the epistemic status of religious belief. However, since CSR is a rapidly evolving discipline, a great deal of earlier research on the topic has become dated. Furthermore, most of the debate on the epistemic consequences of CSR has not taken into account insights from the philosophy of science, such as explanatory pluralism and explanatory levels. This volume overcomes these deficiencies. This volume brings together new philosophical reflection on cognitive science of religion (CSR). It examines the influence of cognitive science of religion (CSR) theories on the epistemic status of religious beliefs; it discusses its impact on philosophy of religion; and it offers new insights for CSR. The book addresses the question of whether or not the plurality of theories in CSR makes epistemic conclusions about religious belief unwarranted. It also explores the impact of CSR on other topics in philosophy of religion like the cognitive consequences of sin and naturalism. Finally, the book investigates what the main theories in CSR aim to explain, and addresses the strengths and weaknesses of CSR.
... This is a general challenge in ritualistic research of this kind. Experimental research has faced similar challenges, with manipulations of synchrony often not being checked for their actual levels of synchrony (for some exceptions, see Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014;Launay, Dean, & Bailes, 2013;Launay, Dean, & Bailes, 2014;Reddish et al., 2013). Similarly, we did not include pain ratings (see for example Xygalatas et al., 2013). ...
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Rituals are thought to bind individuals together. Rituals that are perceived high in pain and behavioral synchrony increase social bonding, but the relative contribution of perceived pain vs. synchrony is unexplored. In addition, gender differences are rarely investigated in experimental studies of ritual, despite known gender differences in ritual participation, emotional processing, social bonding and pain processing. The current study uses data from 137 participants in a naturally occurring high ordeal ritual lasting 10 days. Because all individuals participated in multiple rituals varying in perceived pain and synchrony, it was possible to separate the unique and joint effects in a natural context. We found strong bonding effects for rituals perceived as painful, but not for synchrony. Rituals rated as higher in level of pain (involving cuts, piercings and burns) were associated with greater self-reported social bonding. Gender moderated these effects: Women reported stronger bonding after participating in non-synchronous rituals perceived higher in pain, whereas men reported greater bonding after synchronous activities with more perceived pain. These findings suggest that pain-related processes are a more potent social bonding mechanism than synchrony in naturally occurring high ordeal rituals, but that perceived pain may have different signaling functions depending on the gender of performers.
... Working together to move out of time did not appear to significantly influence cooperation, nor did moving in synchrony without shared intentionality. The lack of any significant difference between the movement conditions in the individual goal condition was interesting, given previous studies showing that synchrony manipulated through entrainment to a recorded beat increased prosocial behaviour [34,37], (but see [74,75]). Speculating, it is possible that instructions to act in synchrony tend to evoke shared-intentionality even when participants are not explicitly instructed to follow a shared goal. ...
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Previous research has shown that the matching of rhythmic behaviour between individuals (synchrony) increases cooperation. Such synchrony is most noticeable in music, dance and collective rituals. As well as the matching of behaviour, such collective performances typically involve shared intentionality: performers actively collaborate to produce joint actions. Over three experiments we examined the importance of shared intentionality in promoting cooperation from group synchrony. Experiment 1 compared a condition in which group synchrony was produced through shared intentionality to conditions in which synchrony or asynchrony were created as a by-product of hearing the same or different rhythmic beats. We found that synchrony combined with shared intentionality produced the greatest level of cooperation. To examinef the importance of synchrony when shared intentionality is present, Experiment 2 compared a condition in which participants deliberately worked together to produce synchrony with a condition in which participants deliberately worked together to produce asynchrony. We found that synchrony combined with shared intentionality produced the greatest level of cooperation. Experiment 3 manipulated both the presence of synchrony and shared intentionality and found significantly greater cooperation with synchrony and shared intentionality combined. Path analysis supported a reinforcement of cooperation model according to which perceiving synchrony when there is a shared goal to produce synchrony provides immediate feedback for successful cooperation so reinforcing the group's cooperative tendencies. The reinforcement of cooperation model helps to explain the evolutionary conservation of traditional music and dance performances, and furthermore suggests that the collectivist values of such cultures may be an essential part of the mechanisms by which synchrony galvanises cooperative behaviours.
... Given the pre-existing political identities, and the dramatically polarised nature of the US political environment (Conover, Goncalves, Ratkiewicz, Flammini, & Menczer, 2011;Fiorina, Abrams, & Pope, 2008;Westfall, Van Boven, Chambers, & Judd, 2015), we hoped to pseudo-experimentally explore how individuals with distinct political identities were differentially influenced by their experiences of the same state ritual. Specifically, we examine predictions derived from both Ritual Modes (Whitehouse, 2004) and Identity Fusion theory (Whitehouse & Lanman, 2014) in order to empirically examine the psychological effects of rituals ( Fischer et al., 2014;Fischer, Callander, Reddish, & Bulbulia, 2013;Cohen, Mundry, & Kirschner, 2014;Páez, Rimé, Basabe, Wlodarczyk, & Zumeta, 2015;Xygalatas et al., 2013). ...
Article
The US Presidential Inauguration is a symbolic event which arouses significant emotional responses among diverse groups, and is of considerable significance to Americans’ personal and social identities. We argue that the inauguration qualifies as an Imagistic Ritual. Such ritual experiences are thought to produce identity fusion: a visceral sense of oneness with the group. The 2017 Inauguration of President Trump was a unique opportunity to examine how a large-scale naturalistic imagistic ritual influences the social identities of Americans who supported and opposed President Trump. We conducted a pre-registered 7-week longitudinal investigation among a sample of Americans to examine how President Trump’s Inauguration influenced identity fusion. We predicted that the affective responses to the inauguration would predict positive changes in fusion, mediated by self-reflection. We did not find support for this. However, the inauguration was associated with flashbulb-like memories, and positive emotions at the time of the event predicted changes in fusion to both ingroup and outgroup targets. Finally, both positive and negative emotional responses inspired self-reflection, but did not mediate the relationship with fusion. We discuss the implications for models linking group psychology, fusion theory, and ritual modes. All material is freely available at the Open Science Framework: https://bit.ly/2Qu0G37.
... Interpersonal sensorimotor synchronization (interpersonal SMS) is a temporal coordinated movement among individuals that is prevalent in our social life (Repp and Keller, 2008), and it may relate to the evolution of music and language (Merker et al., 2009). This ability to coordinate with others is fundamental to establish more complex and flexible social interactions (Newman-Norlund et al., 2007;Konvalinka et al., 2010;Hasson et al., 2012;Kim, 2015), which strengthen social bonding and prosocial behavior (Cummins et al., 2005;Hove and Risen, 2009;Kirschner and Tomasello, 2010;Valdesolo et al., 2010;Cohen et al., 2013). ...
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Interpersonal sensorimotor synchronization (interpersonal SMS) is the foundation of complex human social interaction. Previous studies primarily focused on the individual cognitive processes of interpersonal SMS. However, all individuals compose an entire interaction system with emerged holistic properties during interpersonal SMS. Therefore, we proposed the `holistic cognitive and neural processes' of interpersonal SMS and defined quantitative measurements that included Holistic Correction Gain (HCG), Holistic Timekeeper Variance (HTV) and Holistic Motor Variance (HMV) based on linear error correction model and inter-brain couplings obtained by hyperscanning technique. We performed a joint-tapping experiment including bidirectional and unidirectional conditions using fNIRS hyperscanning to evaluate effects of these holistic processes on synchronization performance. We found that the dyads' performance highly correlated with the integrated effect of holistic cognitive processes in both conditions. Each holistic cognitive process played different roles in interpersonal SMS. HCG was critical to maintain synchronization. HTV related to mentalizing others' behavior. Holistic neural process, the inter-brain coupling of right PFC, was significantly different between bidirectional and unidirectional conditions, which suggested the existence of neural markers at holistic level in interpersonal SMS.
Article
Inspired by the idea that cognitive systems evoke cultural phenomena, this study tested a theory suggesting precautionary cognitive mechanisms as both a constraint and an enabler of transmission of cultural concepts such as religious rituals. Using 'restricted range of themes' as a link between precautionary cognition and religious rituals, this cross cultural study of Zulu communities in SA tested people's inferences about implications of failure to perform life-stage rituals in order to identify the nature of the presence of precautionary themes in Zulu rituals and any involvement of environmental factors. The results reflected inferences rather than echoing of formal descriptions of rituals, and revealed a consistent affinity between certain threat-domains and specific Zulu rituals: birth and early age rituals evoked the Contamination/Contagion domain, women's maturity rituals evoked the Decline in Resources domain, marital rituals evoked a mixture of Decline in Resources and Loss of Status domains, and death rituals evoked the Predation/Assault domain. This suggests that precautionary cognition effect on religious rituals is mediated by life-history strategy rather than by ecology factors, and also, that understanding precautionary cognition is crucial for uncovering the real motivations for religious behaviour, as direct reports cannot be taken at face value.
Chapter
This chapter reviews several possible scenarios for the future of religion in the United States. Outside of a return to traditional Protestant Christianity, five other scenarios are discussed, including the further spread of New Age religion, secularization of megachurches, precipitous decline of communal networks, conflicts between the religious and nonreligious and, lastly, the rise of new religions on the political left and right.
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Social interaction is pivotal to the formation of social relationships and groups. Much is known about the importance of interaction content (e.g., the transfer of information). The present review concentrates on the influence of the act of conversing on the emergence of a sense of solidarity, more or less independently of the content. Micro-characteristics of the conversation (e.g., brief silences, smooth turn-taking) can profoundly influence the emergence and the regulation of relationships and of solidarity. We suggest that this might be because the form of a conversation is experienced as an expression of the social structures within the group. Because of its dynamic nature, moreover, the form of conversation provides group members with a continuous gauge of the group?s structural features (e.g., its hierarchy, social norms, and shared reality). Therefore, minor changes in the form and flow of group conversation can have considerable consequences for the regulation of social structure.
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The Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) is developing a sophisticated naturalistic account of religion, grounded in empirical research. However, there are limitations to establishing an empirical basis for theories about religion’s role in human evolution. Computer modeling and simulation offers a way to address this experimental constraint. A case study in this approach was conducted on a key theory within CSR that recently has come under serious challenge: the Supernatural Punishment Hypothesis, which posits religion facilitated the shift from small, homogeneous social units to large, complex societies. It has been proposed that incorporating empathy as a proximate mechanism for cooperation into the theory may address these challenges. To test this, we developed a computer simulation that runs iterated cooperation games. To assess the impact of empathy on cooperation, we developed an agent-based model with a baseline for empathetic concern, derived from neuroscientific literature on empathy and cooperation, that could be modulated by signals of religious identity. The results of this simulation may provide important data for an account of religion’s role in human evolution. Results and their implications, for both the theory and the modeling and simulation approach, are discussed.
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Reputational considerations favour cooperation and thus we expect less cooperation in larger communities where people are less well known to each other. Some argue that institutions are, therefore, necessary to coordinate large-scale cooperation, including moralizing religions that promote cooperation through the fear of divine punishment. Here, we use community size as a proxy for reputational concerns, and test whether people in small, stable communities are more cooperative than people in large, less stable communities in both religious and non-religious contexts. We conducted a donation game on a large naturalistic sample of 501 people in 17 communities, with varying religions or none, ranging from small villages to large cities in northwestern China. We found that more money was donated by those in small, stable communities, where reputation should be more salient. Religious practice was also associated with higher donations, but fear of divine punishment was not. In a second game on the same sample, decisions were private, giving donors the opportunity to cheat. We found that donors to religious institutions were not less likely to cheat, and community size was not important in this game. Results from the donation game suggest donations to both religious and non-religious institutions are being motivated by reputational considerations, and results from both games suggest fear of divine punishment is not important. This chimes with other studies suggesting social benefits rather than fear of punishment may be the more salient motive for cooperative behaviour in real-world settings.
Chapter
Over the past 15 years or so, the number of empirical projects in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) has grown exponentially and so too has the amount of attention paid to the field, including questions about what the cognitive science of religion is, how it conceptualizes religion and what it explains. The aim of this chapter is to contribute to these discussions by outlining the main objectives of CSR and the assumptions underlying the field. In particular, CSR has often been criticized for not engaging in extensive debates about what religion is. In this chapter I focus extensively on how CSR scholars construe religion and why they have eschewed these definitional debates in favor of engaging in empirical research. In what follows, I discuss how CSR conceptualizes religion, and how this differs from other approaches. Next, I consider how this conceptualization of religion shapes how scholars study it. Finally, I consider the question of how CSR actually explains religion.
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The scholarship on religion has long argued that collective worship helps foster social cohesion. Despite the pervasiveness of this contention, rigorous quantitative evaluations of it have been surprisingly limited. Here, I draw on network data representing the ties of social support among Hindu residents of a South Indian village to evaluate the association between collective religious ritual and social cohesion. I find that those who partake in collective religious rituals together have a higher probability of having a supportive relationship than those who do not. At the structural level, this corresponds to denser connections among co-participants. At the individual level, participants are more embedded in the local community of co-religionists, but are not disassociating themselves from members of other religious denominations. These patterns hold most strongly for co-participation in the recurrent, low arousal monthly worships at the temple, and are suggestive for co-participation in the intense and dysphoric ritual acts carried out as part of an annual festival. Together, these findings provide clear empirical evidence of the lasting relationship between collective religious ritual and social cohesion.
Article
COVID-19 shocks are over the whole world, which disrupted almost all sectors of the economy. Many major financial institutions show a downfall and going into economic recession. All around the world, ordinary people are affected the most in this dire situation due to raised unemployment. Mosques can be considered a vital social institution in Indonesia and tend to cultivate prosperity and elevate economic activities. This research exposed the hidden potential of Mosques in Indonesia in economic development by describing the essential asset stored in them. It’s instrumental for the community to empower the asset because the management of mosques will give multi-effective players in terms of community engagement.
Article
The evolutionary cognitive science of religion rarely strays far from strong individualistic principles despite a deep interest in the adaptive social bonding functions of religion. This raises serious problems for recent Christian theology, which favors concrete relational conceptions of individual personhood. Here, I argue that the wider evolutionary study of religion can mitigate this individualism by embracing recent research suggesting that religion's social bonding functions might be explained as much through energetic, endorphin stimulating, synchronous rituals as through cognitive mechanisms that increase prosocial behavior. The brain opioid theory of social attachment provides a helpful framework for understanding the evolutionary significance of such rituals. A close examination of research into the social effects of synchronous activity, I argue, reveals the need for a theoretically pluralistic explanation of how religion facilitates sociality, the major components of which are readily interpreted in terms that recognize the inherent relationality of individual personhood.
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Priming has emerged as a valuable tool within the psychological study of religion, allowing for tests of religion’s causal effect on a number of psychological outcomes, such as prosocial behavior. As the literature has grown, questions about the reliability and boundary conditions of religious priming have arisen. We use a combination of traditional effect size analyses, p-curve analyses, and adjustments for publication bias to evaluate the robustness of four types of religious priming (Analyses 1-3), review the empirical evidence for religion’s effect specifically on prosocial behavior (Analyses 4-5), and test whether religious priming effects generalize to individuals who report little or no religiosity (Analyses 6-7). Results across 93 studies and 11,653 participants show that religious priming has robust effects across a variety of outcome measures—prosocial measures included. Religious priming does not, however, reliably affect non-religious participants—suggesting that priming depends on the cognitive activation of culturally transmitted religious beliefs.
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Two brief Late Antique religious texts, respectively by the monk Theophanis and by Monoimus the Arab, present an interesting problem of whether they embody the authors’ experience, or whether they are merely literary constructs. Rather than approaching this issue through the lens of theory, the article shows how phenomenological analysis and studies of living subjectivity can be engaged with the text in order to clarify the contents of introspective experience and the genesis of its religious connotations. The analysis uncovers a previously unnoticed form of embodied introspective religious experience which is structured as a ladder with a distinct internal structure with the high degree of synchronic and diachronic stability. This approach also helps one identify the specific introspective techniques in the canonical and non-canonical literature of early Christian tradition, as related to the concepts of “theosis” and “kenosys”, as well as to suggest some neurological correspondents of religious cognition.
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This lecture presents the text of the speech about humans and apes delivered by the author at the 2007 Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Annual Lecture held at the British Academy. It comments on the claim that an evolutionary perspective is not a competing paradigm for conventional explanations in the social sciences, and explains the why humans are so different from other apes and monkeys, despite the fact that we share so much of our evolutionary history with them.
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Reputation monitoring and the punishment of cheats are thought to be crucial to the viability and maintenance of human cooperation in large groups of non-kin. However, since the cost of policing moral norms must fall to those in the group, policing is itself a public good subject to exploitation by free riders. Recently, it has been suggested that belief in supernatural monitoring and punishment may discourage individuals from violating established moral norms and so facilitate human cooperation. Here we use cross-cultural survey data from a global sample of 87 countries to show that beliefs about two related sources of supernatural monitoring and punishment — God and the afterlife — independently predict respondents' assessment of the justifiability of a range of moral transgressions. This relationship holds even after controlling for frequency of religious participation, country of origin, religious denomination and level of education. As well as corroborating experimental work, our findings suggest that, across cultural and religious backgrounds, beliefs about the permissibility of moral transgressions are tied to beliefs about supernatural monitoring and punishment, supporting arguments that these beliefs may be important promoters of cooperation in human groups.
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Historically, religion and religious belief have often been credited as the source of human morality. But what have been the real effects of religion on prosocial behavior? A review of the psychological literature reveals a complex relation between religious belief and moral action: leading to greater prosocial behavior in some contexts but not in others, and in some cases actually increasing antisocial behavior. In addition, different forms of religious belief are associated with different styles of co-operation. This body of evidence paints a somewhat messy picture of religious prosociality; however, recent examinations of the cognitive mechanisms of belief help to resolve apparent inconsistencies. In this article, we review evidence of two separate sources of religious prosociality: a religious principle associated with the protection of the religious group, and a supernatural principle associated with the belief in God, or other supernatural agents. These two principles emphasize different prosocial goals, and so have different effects on prosocial behavior depending on the target and context. A re-examination of the literature illustrates the independent influences of religious and supernatural principles on moral action.
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Previous studies have shown that simply knowing one player moves first can affect behavior in games, even when the first-mover's moves are known to be unobservable. This observation violates the game-theoretic principle that timing of unobserved moves is irrelevant, but is consistent with virtual observability, a theory of how timing can matter without the ability to observe actions. However, this previous research only shows that timing matters in games where knowledge that one player moved first can help select that player's preferred equilibrium, presenting an alternative explanation to virtual observability. We extend this work by varying timing of unobservable moves in ultimatum bargaining games and “weak link” coordination games. In the latter, the equilibrium selection explanation does not predict any change in behavior due to timing differences. We find that timing without observability affects behavior in both games, but not substantially.
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We investigated whether (a) people positively reevaluate the characters of recently dead others and (b) supernatural primes concerning an ambient dead agent serve to curb selfish intentions. In Study 1, participants made trait attributions to three strangers depicted in photographs; one week later, they returned to do the same but were informed that one of the strangers had died over the weekend. Participants rated the decedent target more favorably after learning of his death whereas ratings for the control targets remained unchanged between sessions. This effect was especially pronounced for traits dealing with the decedent’s prosocial tendencies (e.g., ethical, kind). In Study 2, a content analysis of obituaries revealed a similar emphasis on decedents’ prosocial attributes over other personality dimensions (e.g., achievement-relatedness, social skills). Finally, in Study 3, participants who were told of an alleged ghost in the laboratory were less likely to cheat on a competitive task than those who did not receive this supernatural prime. The findings are interpreted as evidence suggestive of adaptive design.
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The effects of ipsapirone and cannabidiol (CBD) on healthy volunteers submitted to a simulated public speaking (SPS) test were compared with those of the anxiolytic benzodiazepine diazepam and placebo. Four independent groups of 10 subjects received, under a double-blind design, placebo or one of the following drugs: CBD (300 mg), diazepam (10 mg) or ipsapirone (5 mg). Subjective anxiety was evaluated through the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and the State-trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The VAMS anxiety factor showed that ipsapirone attenuated SPS-induced anxiety while CBD decreased anxiety after the SPS test. Diazepam, on the other hand, was anxiolytic before and after the SPS test, but had no effect on the increase in anxiety induced by the speech test. Only ipsapirone attenuated the increase in systolic blood pressure induced by the test. Significant sedative effects were only observed with diazepam. The results suggest that ipsapirone and CBD have anxiolytic properties in human volunteers submitted to a stressful situation.
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Recent evidence indicates that priming participants with religious concepts promotes prosocial sharing behaviour. In the present study, we investigated whether religious priming also promotes the costly punishment of unfair behaviour. A total of 304 participants played a punishment game. Before the punishment stage began, participants were subliminally primed with religion primes, secular punishment primes or control primes. We found that religious primes strongly increased the costly punishment of unfair behaviours for a subset of our participants--those who had previously donated to a religious organization. We discuss two proximate mechanisms potentially underpinning this effect. The first is a 'supernatural watcher' mechanism, whereby religious participants punish unfair behaviours when primed because they sense that not doing so will enrage or disappoint an observing supernatural agent. The second is a 'behavioural priming' mechanism, whereby religious primes activate cultural norms pertaining to fairness and its enforcement and occasion behaviour consistent with those norms. We conclude that our results are consistent with dual inheritance proposals about religion and cooperation, whereby religions harness the byproducts of genetically inherited cognitive mechanisms in ways that enhance the survival prospects of their adherents.
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The tendency to mimic and synchronize with others is well established. Although mimicry has been shown to lead to affiliation between co-actors, the effect of interpersonal synchrony on affiliation remains an open question. The authors investigated the relationship by having participants match finger movements with a visual moving metronome. In Experiment 1, affiliation ratings were examined based on the extent to which participants tapped in synchrony with the experimenter. In Experiment 2, synchrony was manipulated. Affiliation ratings were compared for an experimenter who either (a) tapped to a metronome that was synchronous to the participant's metronome, (b) tapped to a metronome that was asynchronous, or (c) did not tap. As hypothesized, in both studies, the degree of synchrony predicted subsequent affiliation ratings. Experiment 3 found that the affiliative effects were unique to interpersonal synchrony.
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Armies, churches, organizations, and communities often engage in activities-for example, marching, singing, and dancing-that lead group members to act in synchrony with each other. Anthropologists and sociologists have speculated that rituals involving synchronous activity may produce positive emotions that weaken the psychological boundaries between the self and the group. This article explores whether synchronous activity may serve as a partial solution to the free-rider problem facing groups that need to motivate their members to contribute toward the collective good. Across three experiments, people acting in synchrony with others cooperated more in subsequent group economic exercises, even in situations requiring personal sacrifice. Our results also showed that positive emotions need not be generated for synchrony to foster cooperation. In total, the results suggest that acting in synchrony with others can increase cooperation by strengthening social attachment among group members.
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We present two studies aimed at resolving experimentally whether religion increases prosocial behavior in the anonymous dictator game. Subjects allocated more money to anonymous strangers when God concepts were implicitly activated than when neutral or no concepts were activated. This effect was at least as large as that obtained when concepts associated with secular moral institutions were primed. A trait measure of self-reported religiosity did not seem to be associated with prosocial behavior. We discuss different possible mechanisms that may underlie this effect, focusing on the hypotheses that the religious prime had an ideomotor effect on generosity or that it activated a felt presence of supernatural watchers. We then discuss implications for theories positing religion as a facilitator of the emergence of early large-scale societies of cooperators.
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The runner's high describes a euphoric state resulting from long-distance running. The cerebral neurochemical correlates of exercise-induced mood changes have been barely investigated so far. We aimed to unravel the opioidergic mechanisms of the runner's high in the human brain and to identify the relationship to perceived euphoria. We performed a positron emission tomography "ligand activation" study with the nonselective opioidergic ligand 6-O-(2-[(18)F]fluoroethyl)-6-O-desmethyldiprenorphine ([(18)F]FDPN). Ten athletes were scanned at 2 separate occasions in random order, at rest and after 2 h of endurance running (21.5 +/- 4.7 km). Binding kinetics of [(18)F]FDPN were quantified by basis pursuit denoising (DEPICT software). Statistical parametric mapping (SPM2) was used for voxelwise analyses to determine relative changes in ligand binding after running and correlations of opioid binding with euphoria ratings. Reductions in opioid receptor availability were identified preferentially in prefrontal and limbic/paralimbic brain structures. The level of euphoria was significantly increased after running and was inversely correlated with opioid binding in prefrontal/orbitofrontal cortices, the anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral insula, parainsular cortex, and temporoparietal regions. These findings support the "opioid theory" of the runner's high and suggest region-specific effects in frontolimbic brain areas that are involved in the processing of affective states and mood.
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The Mind Possessed examines spirit concepts and mediumistic practices from a cognitive scientific perspective. Drawing primarily, but not exclusively, from ethnographic data collected during eighteen months of fieldwork in Belém, northern Brazil, this book combines fine-grained description and analysis of mediumistic activities in an Afro-Brazilian cult house with a scientific account of the emergence and the spread of the tradition's core concepts. The book develops a novel theoretical approach to questions that are of central importance to the scientific study of transmission of culture, particularly concepts of spirits, spirit healing, and spirit possession. Making a radical departure from established anthropological, medicalist, and sociological analyses of spirit phenomena, the book looks instead to instructive insights from the cognitive sciences and offers a set of testable hypotheses concerning the spread and appeal of spirit concepts and possession activities. Predictions and claims are grounded in the data collected and sourced in specific ethnographic contexts. The data presented open new lines of enquiry for the cognitive science of religion (a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary scholarship) and challenge the existing but outdated theoretical frameworks within which spirit possession practices have traditionally been understood.
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In this wide-ranging book Paul C Johnson explores the changing, hidden face of the Afro-Brazilian indigenous religion of Candomble. Despite its inportance in Brazilian Society, Candomble has received far less attention than its sister religions Vodou and Santeria. Johnson seeks to fill this void by offering a comprehensive look at the development, beliefs, and practices of Candomble and exploring its transformation from a secret society of slaves - hidden, persecuted, and marginalized - to a public religion that is very much part of Brazilian culture. Johnson traces this historical shift and locates the turning point in the creation of a Brazilian public sphere and national identity in the first half of the twentieth century. His major focus is on the ritual practice of secrecy in Candomble. Like Vodou and Santeria and the African Yoruba religion from which they are decended, Candomble features a hierarchic series if initiations, with increasing access to secret knowledge at each level. As Johnson shows, the nature and uses of secrecy evolved with the religion. First, secrecy was essential to a society that had to remain hidden from the authorities. Later, when Candomble became known and activily persecuted its secrecy became a form of resistance as well as an exotic hidden power desired by elites. Finally, as Candomble became a public relirion and a vital part of Brazilian culture, the debate increasingly turned away from the secrets themselves and towards their possessors. It is speech about secrets, and not about the content of those secrets, that is now most important in building status, legitimacy and power in Candomble. Offering many first hand accounts of the rites and rituals of contemporary Candomble, this book provides insight into this influential but little studied group, while at the same time making a valuable contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and society.
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While previous research has demonstrated that people’s movements can become coordinated during social interaction, little is known about the cognitive consequences of behavioral synchrony. Given intimate links between the systems that regulate perception and action, we hypothesized that the synchronization of movements during a dyadic interaction may prompt increased attention to be directed to an interaction partner, hence facilitate the information that participants glean during a social exchange. Our results supported this prediction. Incidental memories for core aspects of a brief interaction were facilitated following in-phase behavioral synchrony. Specifically, participants demonstrated enhanced memory for an interaction partner’s utterances and facial appearance. These findings underscore the importance of action perception to social cognition.
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Establishing and maintaining connections with others is central to a fulfilling social life. In this respect, behavioral coordination provides one avenue by which interpersonal linkages can be formed. Drawing from the dynamical systems approach, the present research explored whether temporary interpersonal connections founded on coordinated behavior influence memory for self and others. To do so, we measured participants’ incidental recall of self and other-relevant information after a period of either in-phase or anti-phase interpersonal coordination. While participants in the less stable anti-phase condition demonstrated the typical memory advantage for self-related compared to other-related information, this effect was eliminated when participant and confederate movements displayed in-phase coordination. These results are discussed with respect to the interplay between the systems that support interpersonal synchrony and basic social-cognitive processing.
Article
Humans are the only primates that make music. But the evolutionary origins and functions of music are unclear. Given that in traditional cultures music making and dancing are often integral parts of important group ceremonies such as initiation rites, weddings or preparations for battle, one hypothesis is that music evolved into a tool that fosters social bonding and group cohesion, ultimately increasing prosocial in-group behavior and cooperation. Here we provide support for this hypothesis by showing that joint music making among 4-year-old children increases subsequent spontaneous cooperative and helpful behavior, relative to a carefully matched control condition with the same level of social and linguistic interaction but no music. Among other functional mechanisms, we propose that music making, including joint singing and dancing, encourages the participants to keep a constant audiovisual representation of the collective intention and shared goal of vocalizing and moving together in time — thereby effectively satisfying the intrinsic human desire to share emotions, experiences and activities with others.
Article
Social psychologists have often followed other scientists in treating religiosity primarily as a set of beliefs held by individuals. But, beliefs are only one facet of this complex and multidimensional construct. The authors argue that social psychology can best contribute to scholarship on religion by being relentlessly social. They begin with a social-functionalist approach in which beliefs, rituals, and other aspects of religious practice are best understood as means of creating a moral community. They discuss the ways that religion is intertwined with five moral foundations, in particular the group-focused "binding" foundations of Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, Purity/sanctity. The authors use this theoretical perspective to address three mysteries about religiosity, including why religious people are happier, why they are more charitable, and why most people in the world are religious.
Article
Often in the study of behavioral ecology, and more widely in science, we require to statistically test whether the central tendencies (mean or median) of 2 groups are different from each other on the basis of samples of the 2 groups. In surveying recent issues of Behavioral Ecology (Volume 16, issues 1-5), I found that, of the 130 papers, 33 (25%) used at least one statistical comparison of this sort. Three different tests were used to make this comparison: Student's t-test (67 occasions; 26 papers), Mann-Whitney U test (43 occasions; 21 papers), and the t-test for unequal variances (9 occasions; 4 papers). My aim in this forum article is to argue for the greater use of the last of these tests. The numbers just related suggest that this test is not commonly used. In my survey, I was able to identify tests described simply as ''t-tests'' with confidence as either a Student's t-test or an unequal variance t-test because the calculation of degrees of freedom from the 2 sample sizes is different for the 2 tests (see below). Hence, the neglect of the unequal variance t-test illustrated above is a real phenom- enon and can be explained in several (nonexclusive ways) ways: 1. Authors are unaware that Student's t-test is unreliable The variances of the 2 samples are pooled in order to achieve the best estimate of the (assumed equal) variances of the 2 populations. Hence, we can see the need for the underlying assumption of equal population variances in this test. The Student's t-test performs badly when these variances are actu- ally unequal, both in terms of Type I and Type II errors (Zar 1996). Figure 1 suggests that unequal sample variances are common in behavioral ecology. Although it is true that un- equal variances are less problematic if sample sizes are similar, in practice, we often have quite unequal sample sizes (Figure 2). Hence, I suggest that the Student's t-test is frequently used in behavioral ecology when one of its important underlying as- sumptions is violated, and consequently, its performance is unreliable. The unequal variance t-test does not make the assumption of equal variances. Coombs et al. (1996) presented measured Type I errors obtained by simulated sampling from normal distributions for the Student's t-test and the unequal variance t-test (their result are summarized in Table 1). In the exam- ples in Table 1, we see that the Type I error rate of the unequal variance t-test never deviates far from the nominal 5% value, whereas the Type I error rate for the Student's t-test was over 3 times the nominal rate when the higher variance was associ- ated with the smaller sample size and less than a quarter the nominal rate when the higher variance was associated with the higher sample size. These results concur qualitatively with other studies of these 2 tests (e.g., Zimmerman and Zumbo 1993). Notice that even when the variances are identical, the unequal variance t-test performs just as effectively as the Stu- dent's t-test in terms of Type I error. The power of the unequal variance t-test is similar to that of the Student's t-test even when the population variances are equal (e.g., Moser et al. 1989; Moser and Stevens 1992; Coombs et al. 1996). Hence, I suggest that the unequal variance t-test performs as well as, or better than, the Student's t-test in terms of control of both Type I and Type II error rates whenever the underlying dis- tributions are normal. Let us now consider convenience of calculation: the un- equal variance t-test involves calculation of a t statistic that is compared with the appropriate value in standard t tables. The test statistic for the unequal variance t-test (t#) is actually slightly simpler than that of the Student's t-test:
Article
Physical exercise is known to stimulate the release of endorphins, creating a mild sense of euphoria that has rewarding properties. Using pain tolerance (a conventional non-invasive assay for endorphin release), we show that synchronized training in a college rowing crew creates a heightened endorphin surge compared with a similar training regime carried out alone. This heightened effect from synchronized activity may explain the sense of euphoria experienced during other social activities (such as laughter, music-making and dancing) that are involved in social bonding in humans and possibly other vertebrates.
Article
Social relationships are integral to the behaviour of many mammalian species. Primates are unusual in that their social relationships are extensive within groups, which often contain many reproductively active males and females. Several hypotheses have been forwarded to explain the ultimate causation of primate sociality. While attention has focused on grooming as a proximate factor influencing social relationships, the neural basis of such behaviour has not been investigated in monkeys. This report presents changes in the brain's opioid system contingent on grooming in monkeys. Opiates themselves have a feedback interaction with grooming behaviour, as revealed from the administration of opiate agonists and antagonists. Opiate receptor blockade increases the motivation to be groomed, while morphine administration decreases it. These data support the view that brain opioids play an important role in mediating social attachment and may provide the neural basis on which primate sociality has evolved.
Article
Nitrazepam (7.5 mg and 10 mg) was compared with sodium phenobarbitone (200 mg orally) in man. Suppression of smooth tracking eye movement, subjective effects and performance on the digit-symbol substitution test were recorded. Nitrazepam (7.5 mg) had significantly less oculomotor effect but significantly more subjective effects than phenobarbitone. This finding is related to the evidence that smooth tracking suppression arises from drug action on brain stem systems, and the evidence that benzodiazepines affect brain stem systems less than the limbic system. The nature of the muscular effects of the drugs is discussed.
Article
We investigate the problem of how nonnatural entities are represented by examining university students' concepts of God, both professed theological beliefs and concepts used in comprehension of narratives. In three story processing tasks, subjects often used an anthropomorphic God concept that is inconsistent with stated theological beliefs; and drastically distorted the narratives without any awareness of doing so. By heightening subjects' awareness of their theological beliefs, we were able to manipulate the degree of anthropomorphization. This tendency to anthropomorphize may be generalizable to other agents. God (and possibly other agents) is unintentionally anthropomorphized in some contexts, perhaps as a means of representing poorly understood nonnatural entities.
Language, music, and laughter in evolutionary perspective Evolution of communicative systems: A comparative approach (pp. 257Á274)
  • R I M Dunbar
Dunbar, R.I.M. (2004). Language, music, and laughter in evolutionary perspective. In D.K. Oller (Ed.) Evolution of communicative systems: A comparative approach (pp. 257Á274). Cambridge, MA; MIT Press.
Mind the gap: Or why humans aren't just great apes The elementary forms of religious life Beyond beliefs: Religions bind individuals into moral communities Escalas analó visuais na avaliaçã de estados subjetivos
  • R I M Dunbar
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  • J Graham
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Dunbar, R.I.M. (2008). Mind the gap: Or why humans aren't just great apes. Proceedings of the British Academy, 154, 403Á423. Durkheim, E. (1965). The elementary forms of religious life. New York: Free Press. (Original work published 1912) Graham, J., & Haidt, J. (2010). Beyond beliefs: Religions bind individuals into moral communities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 140Á150. Guimarã, F.S. (1998). Escalas analó visuais na avaliaçã de estados subjetivos [Visual analogue scales on the evaluation of subjective states]. Revista de Psiquiatria Clí, 25, 217Á222.
Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children A case of hand waving: Action synchrony and person perception
  • S Kirschner
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  • L K Miles
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Kirschner, S., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 354Á364. Macrae, C.N., Duffy, O.K., Miles, L.K., & Lawrence, J. (2008). A case of hand waving: Action synchrony and person perception. Cognition, 109, 152Á156.
Moving memories: Behavioral synchrony and memory for self and others The action of sedatives on brain stem oculomotor systems in man
  • L K Miles
  • L K Nind
  • Z Henderson
  • C N Macrae
Miles, L.K., Nind, L.K., Henderson, Z., & Macrae, C.N. (2010). Moving memories: Behavioral synchrony and memory for self and others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 457Á460. Norris, H. (1971). The action of sedatives on brain stem oculomotor systems in man. Neuropharmacology, 10, 181Á191.