Shamanism within a general theory of religious action (no cheesecake needed)

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Debate


Singh places the understanding of shamanism within the cognitive/evolutionary psychology of religion but is then sidetracked by presenting unhelpful analogies. The concepts of "superstition" as a general term for religious rituals and of "superstitious learning" as a mechanism accounting for the creation of rituals in humans reflect an underestimation of the human imagination, which is guided by cognitive/evolutionary constraints. Mentalizing, hypervigilance in agent detection, and anthropomorphism explain the behaviors involved in religious illusions (or delusions).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e68
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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