Research Agenda
References by Section

Acquisition of Religious Cognition and Behavior:

Boyer, P. (1994). The naturalness of religious ideas: A cognitive theory of religion. Berkeley, CA, US: University of California Press.

Boyer, P. (2001). Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religious thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.

 

Folk Theories.

Baillargeon, R. (2008). Innate ideas revisited: For a principle of persistence in infants’ physical reasoning. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(1), 2-13.

Gelman, S. A., & Legare, C. H. (2011). Concepts and folk theories. Annual Review of Anthropology, 1(40), 379-398.

Hirschfeld, L. A., Bartmess, E., White, S., & Frith, U. (2007). Can autistic children predict behavior by social stereotypes? Current Biology, 17(12), R451-R452.

Ojalehto, b. l., & Medin, D. L. (2014). Perspectives on culture and concepts. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 249-275.

Richert, R. A., & Lesage, K. A. (in press). The nature of humans. Invited chapter to appear in J. L. Barrett (ed.), Oxford University Press Handbook for the Cognitive Science of Religion. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Richert, R. A., Saide, A. R., Lesage, K. A., & Shaman, N. J. (2017). The role of religious context in children’s differentiation between God’s mind and human minds. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 35(1), 37-59.

Richert, R. A., Shaman, N. J., Saide, A. R., & Lesage, K. A. (2016). Folding your hands helps God hear you: Prayer and anthropomorphism in parents and children. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 27, 140-157.

 

Ontological Boundaries.

Boyer, P. (1994). The naturalness of religious ideas: A cognitive theory of religion. Berkeley, CA, US: University of California Press.

Boyer, P. (2001). Religion explained: The evolutionary origins of religious thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Corriveau, K. H., Pasquini, E. S., & Harris, P. L. (2005). “If it’s in your mind it’s in your knowledge”: Children’s developing anatomy of identity. Cognitive Development, 20(2005), 321-340.

Gelman, S. A. (2009). Learning from others: Children’s construction of concepts. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 115-140.

Gelman, S. A., & Kalish, C. W. (2006). Conceptual Development. In D. Kuhn, R. S. Siegler, W. Damon, & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Cognition, perception, and language (pp. 687-733). Hoboken, NJ, US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Gelman, S. A., & Diesendruck, G. (1999). What’s in a concept? Context, variability, and psychological essentialism. In I. E. Sigel (Ed.), Development of mental representation: Theories and applications (pp. 87-111). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gottfried, G. M., Gelman, S. A., & Schultz, J. (1999). Children’s understanding of the brain from early essentialism to biological theory. Cognitive Development, 14(1), 147–174.

Johnson, C. N. (1990). If you had my brain, where would I be? Children’s understanding of the brain and identity. Child Development, 61(4), 962-972.

Rhodes, M., Leslie, S-J., & Tworek, C. M. (2012). Cultural transmission of social essentialism. PNAS, 109(34), 13526-13531.

Richert, R. A., & Harris, P. L. (2006). The ghost in my body: Children’s developing concept of the soul. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 409-427.

 

Causal Explanatory Reasoning.

Astuti, R., & Harris, P. L. (2008). Understanding mortality and the life of the ancestors in rural Madagascar. Cognitive Science, 32(2008), 713-740.

Astuti, R., Solomon, G. E. A., & Carey, S. (2004). Constraints on conceptual development: A case study of the acquisition of folkbiological and folk sociological knowledge in Madagascar. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 69(3 Serial No. 277). Campbell, J. (1972). Myths to live by. New York: Viking Penguin.

Barrett, J. (2000). Exploring the natural foundations of religion. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 29–34.

Barrett, J. L., Richert, R. A., & Driesenga, A. (2001). God’s beliefs versus mother’s: The development of nonhuman agent concepts. Child Development, 72, 50–65.

Bering, J. (2006). The cognitive psychology of belief in the supernatural. American Scientist, 94, 142–149.

Callanan, M. A. (2006). Cognitive development, culture, and conversation: Comments on Harris and Koenig’s ‘‘Truth in Testimony’’: How children learn about science and religion. Child Development, 77, 525–530.

Carey, S. (2009). The origin of concepts. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Chi, M., DeLeeuw, N., Chiu, M., & LaVancher, C. (1994). Eliciting self-explanations improves understanding. Cognitive Science, 18, 439–477.

Cole, M. (2005). Cross-cultural and historical perspective on the consequences of education. Human Development, 48, 195–216.

Crowley, K., & Siegler, R. S. (1999). Explanation and generalization in young children’s strategy learning. Child Development, 70, 304–316.

Gelman, S. A., & Legare, C. H. (2011). Concepts and folk theories. Annual Review of Anthropology, 1(40), 379-398.

Evans, E. M., Legare, C. H., & Rosengren, K. (2011). Engaging multiple epistemologies: Implications for science education. In M. Ferrari & R. Taylor (Eds.), Epistemology and science education: Understanding the evolution vs. intelligent design controversy. (pp. 111–139). New York: Routledge.

Frazier, B. N., Gelman, S. A., & Wellman, H. M. (2009). Preschoolers’ search for explanatory information within adult-child conversation. Child Development, 80, 1592– 1611.

Gopnik, A. (2000). Explanation as orgasm and the drive for causal knowledge: The function, evolution, and phenomenology of the theory formation system. In F. Keil & R. Wilson (Eds.), Explanation and cognition (pp. 299–323). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gopnik, A., & Schulz, L. (Eds.). (2007). Causal learning: Psychology, philosophy, and computation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Harris, P. L., & Gimenez, M. (2005). Children’s acceptance of conflicting testimony: The case of death. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 5, 143–164.

Harris, P. L., & Koenig, M. (2006). Trust in testimony: How children learn about science and religion. Child Development, 77, 505–524.

Horton, R. (1979). Ritual man in Africa. In W. A. Lessa & E. Z. Vogt (Eds.), Reader in comparative religion (pp. 347– 358). New York: Harper & Row.

Keil, F. C. (1992). Concepts, kinds, and cognitive development. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Keil, F. C. (2006). Explanation and understanding. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 227–254.

Keil, F., & Wilson, R. (2000). Explanation and cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kuhn, D. (1989). Children and adults as intuitive scientists. Psychological Review, 96, 674–689.

Lane, J. D., Wellman, H. W., & Evans, E. M. (2010). Children’s understanding of ordinary and extraordinary minds. Child Development, 81, 1475–1489.

Legare, C. H. (2012). Exploring explanation: Explaining inconsistent evidence informs exploratory, hypothesis- testing behavior in young children. Child Development, 83, 173–185.

Legare, C.H., Evans, E.M., Rosengren, K.S., & Harris, P.L. (2012). The coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations across cultures and development. Child Development, 83(3), 779-793.

Legare, C. H., & Gelman, S. A. (2008). Bewitchment, biology, or both: The coexistence of natural and supernatural explanatory frameworks across development. Cognitive Science, 32, 607–642.

Legare, C. H., Gelman, S. A., & Wellman, H. M. (2010). Inconsistency with prior knowledge triggers children’s causal explanatory reasoning. Child Development, 81, 929–944.

Legare, C. H., Wellman, H. M., & Gelman, S. A. (2009). Evidence for an explanation advantage in naïve biological reasoning. Cognitive Psychology, 58, 177–194.

Lombrozo, T. (2006). The structure and function of explanations. Trends in Cognitive Science, 10, 464–470.

McCauley, R. (2000). The naturalness of religion and the unnaturalness of science. In F. C. Keil & R. A. Wilson (Eds.), Explanation and cognition (pp. 61–85). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Raman, L., & Gelman, S. A. (2004). A cross-cultural developmental analysis of children’s and adults’ understanding of illness in South Asia (India) and the United States. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 4, 293–317.

Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rosengren, K., Johnson, C. N., & Harris, P. L. (Eds.). (2000). Imagining the impossible: Magical, scientific, and religious thinking in children. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Subbotsky, E. V. (2001). Causal explanations of events by children and adults: Can alternative causal models coexist in one mind? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 19, 23–46.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wellman, H. M. (2011). Reinvigorating explanations for the study of early cognitive development. Child Development Perspectives. 5, 33–38.

Wellman, H. M., & Gelman, S. A. (1992). Cognitive development: Foundational theories of core domains. Annual Review of Psychology, 43, 337–375.

Wellman, H. M., Hickling, A., & Schult, C. (1997). Young children’s psychological, physical, and biological explanations. In H. M. Wellman & K. Inagaki (Eds.), New directions for child development: Children’s theories (pp. 7– 25). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Woolley, J. D. (2000). The development of beliefs about direct mental-physical causality in imagination, magic, and religion. In K. Rosengren, C. N. Johnson, & P. L. Harris (Eds.), Imagining the impossible: Magical, scientific, and religious thinking in children (pp. 99–129). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Woolley, J. D., Cornelius, C. A., & Lacy, W. (2011). Developmental changes in the use of supernatural explanations for unusual events. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 11, 311–337.

 

Transmission of Religious Cognition and Behavior:

 

Learning via verbal information.

Canfield, C. & Ganea, P.A. (2014).  “You could call it magic”: What parents and siblings tell preschoolers about unobservable entities.  Journal of Cognition and Development, 15, 269-286.

Clegg, J., Cui, Y.K., Harris, P.L & Corriveau, K.H. (2019). God, germs and evolution: Belief in unobservable religious and scientific entities in the U.S. and China. Special issue on religion in Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 9, 831-848.

Corriveau, K.H., DiYanni, C., Clegg, J.M., Min, G., Chin, J., & Nasrini, J. (2017).  Cultural differences in the learning and teaching of unexpected information.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 161, 1-18.

Corriveau, K.H. & Harris, P.L. (2010).  Preschoolers (sometimes) defer to the majority when making simple perceptual judgments.  Developmental Psychology, 26, 437-445.

Corriveau, K.H., Kim, E., Song, G. & Harris, P.L.  (2013).  Young children’s deference to a majority varies by culture.  Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13, 367-381.

Cui, Y.K., Clegg, J.M, Fang, Y.E., Davoodi, T., Harris, P.L. & Corriveau, K.H. (under review). The power of religious testimony in a secular society: Belief in unobservable entities among Chinese parents and their children.

Davoodi, T., Sianaki, M.J., Abedi, F., Payir, A., Harris, P.L. & Corriveau, K.H. (2018). Beliefs about religious and scientific entities among parents and children in Iran. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

DiYanni, C., Corriveau, K.H., Kurkul, K., Nasrini, J. & Nini, N. (2015).  The role of conformity and culture in the imitation of questionable actions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 137, 99-110.

Harris, P.L. (2012). Trusting What You’re Told. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Harris, P.L. & Corriveau, K.H.  (2011).  Young children’s selective trust in informants.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366, 1179-1187.

Harris, P.L. & Corriveau, K.H. (in press). Some, but not all, children believe in miracles. Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion.

Harris, P.L., Koenig, M.A., Corriveau, K.H. & Jaswal, V.K. (2018). Cognitive foundations of learning from testimony. Annual Review of Psychology, 69, 251-273.

Legare, C.H., Sobel, D.M., & Callanan, M. (2017). Causal learning is collaborative: Examining explanation and exploration in social contexts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(5), 1548-1554.

Luce, M.R., Callanan, M.A. & Smilovic, S. (2013).  Links between parent’s epistemological stance and children’s evidence talk.  Developmental Psychology, 49, 454-461.

Richert, R. A., Saide, A. R., Lesage, K. A., & Shaman, N. J. (2017). The role of religious context in children’s differentiation between God’s mind and human minds. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 35(1), 37-59.

 

Learning via written sources.

Corriveau, K. H., Chen, E. E. & Harris, P.L. (2015). Judgment about fact and fiction by children from religious and non-religious backgrounds. Cognitive Science.

Corriveau, K.H., Einav, S., Robinson, E. & Harris, P.L. (2014).  To the letter: Early readers trust print-based over oral instructions to guide their actions.  British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 32, 345-358.

Einav, S., Robinson, E.J. & Fox, A. (2013). Take it as read: Origins of trust in knowledge gained from print. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 262-274.

Li, H., Boguszewski, K., & Lillard, A. S. (2015). Can that really happen? Children’s knowledge about the reality status of fantastical events in television. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 139, 99-114.

Robinson, E.J., Cinav, S. & Fox, A. (2013). Reading to learn: Pre-readers’ and early readers’ trust in text as a source of knowledge. Developmental Psychology, 49, 505-513.

Woolley, J. D., & Van Reet, J. (2006). Effects of context on judgments concerning the reality status of novel entities. Child Development, 77, 1778–1793.

 

Learning via nonverbal behavior.

Chudek, M., Heller, S., Birch, S. & Henrich, J. (2012). Prestige-biased cultural learning: bystander’s differential attention to potential models influences children’s learning. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 46-56.

Chudek, M. & Henrich, J. (2011). Culture-gene coevolution, nor-psychology and the emergence of human prosociality. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 218-226.

Claidière, N. & Whiten, A. (2012). Integrating the study of conformity and culture in humans and nonhuman animals. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 126-145.

Clegg, J.M., & Legare, C.H. (2016). A cross-cultural comparison of children’s imitative flexibility. Developmental Psychology, 52(9), 1435-1444.

Clegg, J.M., & Legare, C.H. (2016). Instrumental and conventional interpretations of behavior are associated with distinct outcomes in early childhood. Child Development, 87(2), 527-542. 

Corriveau, K.H., Fusaro, M. & Harris, P.L. (2009).  Going with the flow: Preschoolers prefer non-dissenters as informants.  Psychological Science, 20, 372-377.

Corriveau, K.H. & Harris, P.L. (2010). Preschoolers (sometimes) defer to the majority in making simple perceptual judgments. Developmental Psychology, 46, 437-445.

Haun, D.B.M. & Tomasello, M. (2011). Conformity to peer pressure in preschool children. Child Development, 82, 1759-1767.

Herrmann, P.A., Legare, C.H., Harris, P.L., & Whitehouse, H. (2013). Stick to the script: The effect of witnessing multiple actors on children’s imitation. Cognition, 129, 536-543.

Kenward, B., Karlsson, M. & Persson, J. (2011). Over-imitation is better explained by norm learning than by distorted causal learning. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278, 1239-1246.

Keupp, S., Behne, T. & Rakoczy, H. (2013). Why do children overimitate? Normativity is crucial. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 392-406.

Lakin, J.L., Chartrand, T.L. & Arkin, R.M. (2008). I am too just like you: Nonconscious mimicry as an automatic behavioral response to social exclusion. Psychological Science, 19, 816-822.

Legare, C.H. (2017). Cumulative cultural learning: Diversity and development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS),114(30), 7877-7883.

Legare, C.H., & Nielsen, M. (2015). Imitation and innovation: The dual engines of cultural learning. Feature article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences (TICS), 19, 688-699.

Legare, C.H., Wen, N.J., Herrmann, P.A., & Whitehouse, H. (2015). Imitative flexibility and the development of cultural learning. Cognition, 142, 351-361.

Over, H. & Carpenter, M. (2009). Priming third-party ostracism increases affiliative imitation in children. Developmental Science, 12, F1-F8.

Over, H. & Carpenter, M. (2012). Putting the social into social learning: Explaining both selectivity and fidelity in children’s copying behavior. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126, 182-192.

Pasquini, E., Corriveau, K.H., Koenig, M. & Harris, P.L.  (2007).  Preschoolers monitor the relative accuracy of informants.  Developmental Psychology, 43, 1216-1226.

Schmidt, M.F.H., Rakoczy, H., Tomasello, M. (2012). Young children enforce social norms selectively depending on the violator’s group affiliation. Cognition, 124, 325-333.

Watson-Jones, R.E., & Legare, C.H. (2016). The social functions of group rituals. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25, 42-46.

Watson-Jones, R.E., Legare, C.H., Whitehouse, H., & Clegg, J.M. (2014). Task specific effects of ostracism on imitative fidelity in early childhood. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 204-210.

Watson-Jones, R.E., Whitehouse, H., & Legare, C.H. (2016). In-group ostracism increases high-fidelity imitation in early childhood. Psychological Science, 27(1), 34-42.

Wen, N.J., Herrmann, P.A., & Legare, C.H. (2016). Ritual increases children’s affiliation with in-group members. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 54–60.

The Developing Belief Network is funded by The John Templeton Foundation, with additional support from the University of California, Riverside and Boston University, and involves a partnership with Databrary.

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