On Tuesday 27th April Dr Emily Reed Burdett will be giving us a seminar talk entitled –Exploring the Foundations of Religious Behaviour. Join in at 1pm for the talk followed by Q&A.
Abstract: The origins of religious ideas have fascinated scholars from many disciplines for millennia. Many scholars have concluded that we can only speculate where these ideas come from and how they perpetuate in our societies. Although we may never pinpoint in any factual way the origin of these ideas, recent groundbreaking work in the cognitive sciences have identified some key psychological and cognitive propensities that encourage distinct ways of thinking about the natural and the supernatural. After several decades, cognitive and developmental psychologists are beginning to agree that we all have a natural tendency to think about the supernatural and to learn and imitate religious behavior. This way of thinking and learning has encouraged more cooperative behavior and increased the overall fitness of societies. In my talk I will discuss these cognitive propensities and I will showcase recent studies and debates. I conclude by saying that we have natural tendencies to believe in the supernatural and that these tendencies have benefitted the building of societies and our survival.