David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Cognitive Science 36 (5):846-869 (2012)
Current evolutionary and cognitive theories of religion posit that supernatural agent concepts emerge from cognitive systems such as theory of mind and social cognition. Some argue that these concepts evolved to maintain social order by minimizing antisocial behavior. If these theories are correct, then people should process information about supernatural agents’ socially strategic knowledge more quickly than non-strategic knowledge. Furthermore, agents’ knowledge of immoral and uncooperative social behaviors should be especially accessible to people. To examine these hypotheses, we measured response-times to questions about the knowledge attributed to four different agents—God, Santa Claus, a fictional surveillance government, and omniscient but non-interfering aliens—that vary in their omniscience, moral concern, ability to punish, and how supernatural they are. As anticipated, participants respond more quickly to questions about agents’ socially strategic knowledge than non-strategic knowledge, but only when agents are able to punish
|Keywords||Supernatural agents Socially strategic information Cognitive science of religion Theory of mind Supernatural punishment|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Simon Baron-Cohen (1995). Mindblindness an Essay on Autism and "Theory of Mind". Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
David Premack & G. Woodruff (1978). Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.
Brian J. Scholl & Patrice D. Tremoulet (2000). Perceptual Causality and Animacy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (8):299-309.
Scott Atran & Ara Norenzayan (2004). Religion's Evolutionary Landscape: Counterintuition, Commitment, Compassion, Communion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):713-730.
Citations of this work BETA
Marjaana Lindeman, Annika M. Svedholm-Häkkinen & Jari Lipsanen (2015). Ontological Confusions but Not Mentalizing Abilities Predict Religious Belief, Paranormal Belief, and Belief in Supernatural Purpose. Cognition 134:63-76.
Benjamin Grant Purzycki (2013). The Minds of Gods: A Comparative Study of Supernatural Agency. Cognition 129 (1):163-179.
Andrew Shtulman & Marjaana Lindeman (2016). Attributes of God: Conceptual Foundations of a Foundational Belief. Cognitive Science 40 (3):635-670.
Larisa Heiphetz, Jonathan D. Lane, Adam Waytz & Liane L. Young (2016). How Children and Adults Represent God's Mind. Cognitive Science 40 (1):121-144.
Similar books and articles
Jesse M. Bering & Todd K. Shackelford (2004). Supernatural Agents May Have Provided Adaptive Social Information. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):732-733.
Thomas Ågotnes & Dirk Walther (2009). A Logic of Strategic Ability Under Bounded Memory. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 18 (1):55-77.
Bryan W. Husted & David B. Allen (2000). Is It Ethical to Use Ethics as Strategy? Journal of Business Ethics 27 (1-2):21 - 31.
Pratima Bansal (2005). Responsible Strategic Decision Making. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 16:57-62.
M. H. Lee & N. J. Lacey (2003). The Influence of Epistemology on the Design of Artificial Agents. Minds and Machines 13 (3):367-395.
J. Michael Bailey (2000). Accounting for Female Strategic Variation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):589-589.
Margaret A. Boden (1969). Miracles and Scientific Explanation. Ratio 11:137 - 144.
Skip Worden (2003). The Role of Integrity as a Mediator in Strategic Leadership: A Recipe for Reputational Capital. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 46 (1):31 - 44.
Sieuwert van Otterloo, Wiebe Van Der Hoek & Michael Wooldridge (2006). Knowledge Condition Games. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 15 (4):425-452.
T. J. Mawson (2001). Miracles and Laws of Nature. Religious Studies 37 (1):33-58.
Added to index2012-03-30
Total downloads38 ( #106,556 of 1,796,170 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #55,524 of 1,796,170 )
How can I increase my downloads?