Research

Agenda

Acquisition of Religious Cognition and Behavior

How does the acquisition of religious cognition and behavior vary within and between populations? How is the acquisition of religious beliefs and practices facilitated and constrained by child-level developmental factors?

Do children need to have a foundational folk theory of humans before they can develop a concept of supernatural agents?  

How do cultural variations in religious concepts (e.g., beliefs about animism, the properties and functioning of spirit/life force/soul) relate to the development of ontological boundaries and the extent to which religious concepts are or are not minimally counterintuitive?  

How do natural and supernatural explanations develop to (co)exist in individual minds?

Transmission of Religious Cognition and Behavior

How does the transmission of religious cognition and behavior vary within and between populations? How do processes of social learning (e.g., testimony, text, instruction, imitation) support the development of religious cognition and behavior?

How do cross-cultural and within-cultural variations in verbal information provided to children relate to children’s concepts about and belief in natural and supernatural agents and causes?

How do cross-cultural and within-cultural variations in written sources of information provided to children relate to children’s concepts about and belief in natural and supernatural agents and causes?

How do cross-cultural and within-cultural variations in non-verbal behavior relate to children’s concepts about and belief in natural and supernatural agents and causes?

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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