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Cognitive Science of Religion Unit

Call for Proposals

  1. Current Theories and Applications of the Cognitive Science of Religion. This call is intentionally broad in scope. We invite scholars who are using current cognitive theories and/or applied research in the study of religion, religions, or religious-related phenomena to submit a proposal for a paper or panel session for inclusion in the 2020 AAR-CSR Unit’s sessions.

  2. Cultural evolution and cognitive historiography (co-sponsored with the SBL Mind, Society, and Religion: Cognitive Science Approaches to the Biblical World Unit). We invite scholars to submit a proposal for a paper or panel session who are using cognitive approaches to identify cultural evolutionary processes (e.g., social change, gene-culture co-evolution, transmission of information via social learning, imitation, prestige-bias, etc.) throughout history, especially in antiquity and the ancient near east.

  3. Cognitive Science of Religion Unit and the Yoga in Theory and Practice Unit. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the study of yoga using ideas and methods from cognitive science and neuroscience. This panel aims to bring together scholars of both yoga and cognitive science/neuroscience to gauge the current state of the field.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit is dedicated to advancing cognitive scientific approaches to the study of religion in a critically informed, historically responsible manner. “Cognitive science” designates a broadly interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind that integrates research from the neurosciences, psychology (including developmental, cognitive, evolutionary, and social psychology), anthropology, and philosophy. The main goal of this Unit is to bring together cognitive scientists, historians of religion, ethnographers, empirically-oriented theologians, and philosophers of religion to explore applications of cognitive science to religious phenomena, as well as religious insights into the study of the human mind. We wish to consider ways in which historical and ethnographic data can be used to test theories and discuss theoretical and methodological concerns that are directly relevant to study design and data interpretation.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members