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Supernatural beliefs: Adaptations for social life or by-products of cognitive adaptations?

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In this paper, we discuss the limits of the traditional view that supernatural beliefs and behaviours are adaptations for social life. We compare it to an alternative hypothesis, according to which supernatural thinking is a secondary effect of cognitive predispositions originally shaped for different adaptive reasons. Finally, we discuss the respective role of such predispositions and socio-cultural factors in shaping and promoting the diffusion of supernatural beliefs.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Architecture and Arts, University IUAV of Venice, Santa Croce 191, Tolentini, 30135 Venice, Italy; 2: bDepartment of Biology, University of Padua, Via U. Bassi 58/B, 35131 Padua, Italy; 3: cCentre for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Palazzo Fedrigotti, Corso Bettini 31, 38068 Rovereto Trento, Italy

10.1163/1568539X-00003154
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003154
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2014-01-01
2017-12-16

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