Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Cultural EvolutionSociety, Technology, Language, and Religion$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter J. Richerson and Morton H. Christiansen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019750

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019750.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use (for details see http://www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 November 2017

Religious Prosociality

Religious Prosociality

A Synthesis

Chapter:
(p.365) 19 Religious Prosociality
Source:
Cultural Evolution
Author(s):

Ara Norenzayan

Joseph Henrich

Edward Slingerland

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019750.003.0019

Religion is a ubiquitous aspect of human culture, yet until recently, relatively little was known about its natural origins and effects on human minds and societies. This is changing, as scientific interest in religion is on the rise. Debates about the evolutionary origins and functions of religion, including its origins in genetic and cultural evolution, hinge on a set of empirical claims about religious prosociality: whether, and through which particular pathways, certain religious beliefs and practices encourage prosocial behaviors. Here we synthesize and evaluate the scientific literature on religious prosociality, highlighting both gaps and open questions. Converging evidence from several fields suggests a nuanced pattern such that some religious beliefs and practices, under specific sociohistorical contexts, foster prosocial behaviors among strangers. This emerging picture is beginning to reveal the psychological mechanisms underlying religious prosociality. Further progress will depend on resolving outstanding puzzles, such as whether religious prosociality exists in small-scale societies, the extent to which it is constrained by in-group boundaries, and the psychology underlying various forms of disbelief. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   religious prosociality, beliefs, religion in small-scale societies, evolutionary origins of religion, functions of religion, psychological mechanisms

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.