Explaining religion



Based on several months of comprehensive literature review and consultation with the project director and the workpackage mentors, RF3 will develop an experimental programme that is a novel, systematic investigation of core problems in the area of theory of mind and religion. This new experimental programme will consist of 3 ‘high-impact’ studies. Each study, in turn, will be programmatic in nature (i.e., consisting of 4 embedded experiments, each theoretically linked and emanating from the previous, with approximately 50 participants per experiment). These studies are labelled high-impact because of their ability to resolve and address central questions in this research area, because they will be developed in accordance with the rigorous standards of cognitive science, because they will be co-designed and co-authored by highly visible experts, and because they will be ‘marketed’ to the most prestigious and frequently cited scientific journals, at national and international conferences, and promulgated through popular science outlets. Prior to implementation, all experimental studies will require approval by the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) operating at the institutions where the research is carried out, as well as approval from the project’s Gender and Ethics Committee and the Commission (based on the submission of Interim Reports prior to each major wave of experimental research).
To establish the contributions of theory of mind capacities to the establishment and continuation of the universal religious repertoire

To investigate the evolutionary causes and consequences of the relationship between theory of mind, on the one hand, and religious thinking and behaviour, on the other.

Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/09/0731/08/10

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2002

  • 5504 Experimentelle Psychologie

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012

  • 501 Psychologie


  • Cognitive Science
  • Social Anthropology
  • Experimental Psychology