About

 

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Hello! I’m Chris Kavanagh, I’m a researcher working in the cognitive science of religion field which entails exploring various aspects of religion from a cognitive and evolutionary perspective. My research is primarily focused on the social and psychological effects of extreme rituals (see the image below for an example) and involves a combination of lab-based experimental studies and field-based research.

Group carrying a portable shrine through flames in Northern Japan
Group carrying a portable shrine through flames in Northern Japan

I recently completed a DPhil (PhD) on the topic at the Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, headed by Harvey Whitehouse, and am now working for the same institute as a researcher. I was born and bred in Belfast (Northern Ireland) but have now spent over a decade living elsewhere and am presently in Sapporo, Japan where I work with Masaki Yuki’s Culture, Social Ecology, and Psychology Lab.