A new survey of the literature on religion and helping behavior calls into question the usual assumption that religion encourages prosociality. Read more

Research from the University of Missouri shows that reduced functioning in the right parietal cortex is associated with high levels of spirituality – particularly forgiveness. Read more

Focusing on religious identity, psychologists R. David Hayward (University of Michigan), Joanna Maselko (Duke University Medical Center), and Keith G. Meador (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) found that people accurately remember their childhood religious behavior but alter their childhood religious identity so that it matches their present religious identity. Read more

I believe the study of religion and ritual in human cultures argues compellingly for the importance of an interactive morality, one that prioritizes the concrete and particular life of communities and their relationships. This kind of morality is closer to that encouraged by our evolutionary heritage, which demanded constant, daily investment in relationships as the basic currency of survival.…At the same time, this interactive morality, on its own, is also no longer enough. Read more

Researcher Michael McFarland (University of Texas at Austin) and colleagues found that forgiveness positively correlates with health over time – but only for African-Americans. Read more

New research from the University of Virginia and China shows a surprising finding – liberals are WEIRDer than conservatives! Read more

Having discovered how everyday people handle the so-called “religion-science” conflict, psychologists Cristine Legare (University of Texas at Austin) and Aku Visala (University of Oxford) now aim to use their data to critique and inform the standard philosophical approaches to this issue. Philosophers typically, at minimum, categorize religion-science approaches in three ways: conflict, independence, and reconciliation. Legare and Visala find that so few people actually adhere to the first two that only reconciliation plausibly coheres with human cognition. Read more

Studying the religion-science conflict empirically, psychologists Cristine Legare (University of Texas at Austin) and Aku Visala (University of Oxford) offer psychological data about it, concluding that scientific explanations do not replace religious ones, and then (see part 2) they critique the standard religion-science discussion. Read more

Who knew? New research from Canada shows that self-styled atheists prefer video games to tabletop games much more than do religious believers. The explanation? Atheists prefer to let video games do their imagining for them. Read more

Psychologists Bart Soenens (Ghent University, Belgium) applied the study of interpersonal relationships to religiosity and found that how one perceives one’s relationship with God affects whether one approaches religiosity symbolically or literally. Read more

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