9 found
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  1. The cultural evolution of prosocial religions.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39:e1.
    We develop a cultural evolutionary theory of the origins of prosocial religions and apply it to resolve two puzzles in human psychology and cultural history: (1) the rise of large-scale cooperation among strangers and, simultaneously, (2) the spread of prosocial religions in the last 10–12 millennia. We argue that these two developments were importantly linked and mutually energizing. We explain how a package of culturally evolved religious beliefs and practices characterized by increasingly potent, moralizing, supernatural agents, credible displays of faith, (...)
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  2.  32
    Weighing outcome vs. intent across societies: How cultural models of mind shape moral reasoning.Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K. Willard, Ara Norenzayan & Joseph Henrich - 2019 - Cognition 182 (C):95-108.
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  3. Cognitive biases explain religious belief, paranormal belief, and belief in life’s purpose.Aiyana K. Willard & Ara Norenzayan - 2013 - Cognition 129 (2):379-391.
  4.  29
    Parochial prosocial religions: Historical and contemporary evidence for a cultural evolutionary process.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
    In our response to the 27 commentaries, we refine the theoretical claims, clarify several misconceptions of our framework, and explore substantial disagreements. In doing so, we show that our framework accommodates multiple historical scenarios; debate the historical evidence, particularly about “pre-Axial” religions; offer important details about cultural evolutionary theory; clarify the termprosociality;and discuss proximal mechanisms. We review many interesting extensions, amplifications, and qualifications of our approach made by the commentators.
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    Memory and Belief in the Transmission of Counterintuitive Content.Aiyana K. Willard, Joseph Henrich & Ara Norenzayan - 2016 - Human Nature 27 (3):221-243.
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    “Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs.Aiyana K. Willard & Ara Norenzayan - 2017 - Cognition 165 (C):137-146.
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  7.  23
    The Minds of God(s) and Humans: Differences in Mind Perception in Fiji and North America.Aiyana K. Willard & Rita A. McNamara - 2019 - Cognitive Science 43 (1):e12703.
    Previous research suggests that how people conceive of minds depends on the culture in which they live, both in determining how they interact with other human minds and how they infer the unseen minds of gods. We use exploratory factor analysis to compare how people from different societies with distinct models of human minds and different religious traditions perceive the minds of humans and gods. In two North American samples (American adults, N = 186; Canadian students, N = 202), we (...)
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    Cognitive Pathways to Belief in Karma and Belief in God.Cindel J. M. White, Aiyana K. Willard, Adam Baimel & Ara Norenzayan - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (1):e12935.
    Supernatural beliefs are ubiquitous around the world, and mounting evidence indicates that these beliefs partly rely on intuitive, cross‐culturally recurrent cognitive processes. Specifically, past research has focused on humans' intuitive tendency to perceive minds as part of the cognitive foundations of belief in a personified God—an agentic, morally concerned supernatural entity. However, much less is known about belief in karma—another culturally widespread but ostensibly non‐agentic supernatural entity reflecting ethical causation across reincarnations. In two studies and four high‐powered samples, including mostly (...)
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    The evolution of the shaman's cultural toolkit.Aiyana K. Willard, Yo Nakawake & Jonathan Jong - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
    A complete picture of shamanism's cultural evolution requires an understanding of how the professionalization of shamanism affects the distribution of knowledge within societies. We suggest that limiting knowledge to fewer people could impede the accumulation of functional knowledge within shamanism. On this basis, we make further predictions about how the domain of shamanism could change and collapse.
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