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Title The social brain in human and religious evolution: Elucidating the role of theory of mind in (non)religious belief
Publication Date
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher University of Tennessee – Chattanooga
Abstract Contemporary theorists of religion have argued that religious beliefs are “natural” because they arise from normally functioning social cognitive capacities, especially Theory of Mind (ToM). Hence, attempts to explain atheism have relied heavily on the assumption that nonbelievers may have a malfunctioning ToM and other traits associated with the autism spectrum continuum (ASC). However, few studies currently address this topic and the evidence either way remains ambiguous. The current research narrows this empirical gap, addressing these claims with a two-fold approach. First, a near comprehensive review of ToM is provided. Second, this study is exploratory, employing a unique methodology and previously untapped empirical measures to test for differences in ToM components and ASC traits between atheists (N = 2423) and theists (N = 103).
Subjects/Keywords Religion  – Philosophy; Atheists  – Research  – United States; Atheism
Contributors Hood, Ralph W., Jr.; Caldwell-Harris, Catherine; Shelton, Jill T.; Holcombe, Jenny M.; College of Arts and Sciences
Language en
Rights License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ [Always confirm rights and permissions with the source record.]
Country of Publication us
Record ID oai:scholar.utc.edu:theses-1620
Repository utc
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2020-06-19

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