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  1.  6
    Dunbar’s Number Goes to Church: The Social Brain Hypothesis as a Third Strand in the Study of Church Growth.R. Bretherton & R. I. M. Dunbar - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):63-76.
    The study of church growth has historically been divided into two strands of research: the Church Growth Movement and the Social Science approach. This article argues that Dunbar’s Social Brain Hypothesis represents a legitimate and fruitful third strand in the study of church growth, sharing features of both previous strands but identical with neither. We argue that five predictions derived from the Social Brain Hypothesis are accurately borne out in the empirical and practical church growth literature: that larger congregations lead (...)
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  2.  5
    Transcendence, Religion and Social Bonding.Simon Dein - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):77-88.
    This article examines the relationship between religion, transcendence and social bonding. I speculate that the capacity to undergo transcendent experiences facilitated social bonding. Following a discussion of Gorelik’s typology of transcendence, it examines the relationship between ritual, transcendence and bonding with an emphasis on singing, dancing and synchrony. It then moves on to explore theory of mind and transcendence. Finally, transcendent emotions like compassion, admiration, gratitude, love and awe will be discussed. I conclude by arguing that transcendence originates from group-level (...)
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  3.  6
    Religion, the Social Brain and the Mystical Stance.Rim Dunbar - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):46-62.
    This article explores the implications of the social brain and the endorphin-based bonding mechanism that underpins it for the evolution of religion. I argue that religion evolved as one of the behavioural mechanisms designed to facilitate community bonding when humans first evolved the larger social groups of ~150 that now characterise our species. This is not a matter of facilitating cooperation, but of engineering social cohesion – a very different problem. Analysis of the size of C19th utopian communities suggests that (...)
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  4.  4
    How Ritual Might Create Religion: A Neuropsychological Exploration.James W. Jones - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):29-45.
    Several models of the evolution of religion claim that ritual creates “religion” and gives it a positive evolutionary role. Robert Bellah suggests that the evolutionary roots of ritual lay in the play of animals. For Homo sapiens, Bellah argues, rituals generate a world of experience different from the world of everyday life, and that different world of experience is the foundation of later religious developments. Robin Dunbar points to trance dancing as the original religious behavior. Trance dancing both alters ordinary (...)
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  5.  5
    New Religious Movements and Quasi-Religion: Cognitive Science of Religion at the Margins.Alastair Lockhart - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):101-122.
    The article offers a critical analysis of the cognitive science of religion as applied to new and quasi-religious movements, and uncovers implicit conceptual and theoretical commitments of the approach. A discussion of CSR’s application to new religious movement case studies identifies concerns about the theorized relationship between CSR and wider socio-cultural factors, and proposals for CSR’s implication in wider processes are discussed. The main discussion analyses three themes in recent work relating CSR to religious and religion-like activities that extend and (...)
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  6.  4
    Four Advantages of a Systemic Approach to the Study of Religion.Richard Sosis - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):142-157.
    There has been increasing interest in the evolutionary study of religion, but perfunctory fractionalization has limited our ability to explain how and why religion evolved, evaluate religion’s current adaptive value, and assess its role in contemporary decision-making. To move beyond piecemeal analyses of religion, I have recently offered an integrative evolutionary framework that approaches religions as adaptive systems. I argue that religions are an adaptive complex of traits consisting of cognitive, neurological, affective, behavioral, and developmental features that are organized into (...)
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  7.  5
    Emotional Bonds: Bridging the Gap Between Evolutionary and Humanistic Accounts of Religious Belief.Léon Turner - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):6-28.
    Recent years have seen a growing willingness in the evolutionary cognitive science of religion 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 (...)
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  8.  5
    Sexual Selection and Religion: Can the Evolution of Religion Be Explained in Terms of Mating Strategies?James A. Van Slyke & Konrad Szocik - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):123-141.
    This article considers the application of sexual selection theory to the study of religion by discussing the basic concepts and theories in sexual selection and then outlines possibilities of its application to the study of the evolution of religion. The first section outlines basic principles in the sexual selection account, including the evolution of human mating strategies based on dimorphism, gender differences in human mating strategies, and the role of different cultural activities in mating dynamics. Such an overview may be (...)
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  9.  4
    Editorial Introduction.Fraser Watts - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):3-5.
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  10.  5
    The Evolution of Religious Cognition.Fraser Watts - 2020 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 42 (1):89-100.
    Several accounts of the evolution of religion distinguish two phases: an earlier shamanic stage and a later doctrinal stage. Similarly, several theories of human cognition distinguish two cognitive modes: a phylogenetically older system that is largely intuitive and a later, more distinctively human system that is more rational and articulate. This article suggests that cognition in the earlier stage in the evolution of religion is largely at the level of intuition, whereas the cognition of doctrine or religion is more conceptual (...)
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