Mortality Awareness and Belief in Supernatural Agents

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Mortality Awareness and Belief in Supernatural Agents Ara Norenzayan Department of Psychology University of British Columbia

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Cross Cultural Observations Nearly all social orders have otherworldly convictions; Most individuals on the planet have faith in some sort of Higher Power (60-90%) Supernatural convictions are the foundation of religions The impact of religions is required to increment in the coming decades

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Surveys of Religion demonstrate that Americans Believe in… % Believe God 96% Heaven 93% Hell 85% Psychic and profound healing 54% ESP or extrasensory perception 50% Haunted houses 50% Possession by the devil 41% Ghosts of dead individuals returning 38% Clairvoyance 32% Gallup Poll, 1994, 2001

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Cross Cultural Comparisons How Important is God in your life? West Africa 97% Latin America 87% North America 83% Western Europe 49% Eastern Europe 49% South East Asia 47% Total Average 63% Middle East ? Gallup International Millenium Survey (60 nations)

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The Secularization Myth Despite the ascent of science and innovation, the impact of religions has not lessened Estimated 10,000 religions on the planet 2-3 religions conceived each day The ascent of religion in the 21 st century- - The period of religious clashes? Two special cases: Europe and the scholarly community

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Supernatural Agent Beliefs Supernatural operator convictions are created by evaluated and orderly infringement of natural operator convictions (Boyer, 1994) Cultural control of organization recognition module apparition = purposeful operator + undetectable + goes through strong articles

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Supernatural Agents and Awareness of Death Religious convictions capacity to oversee dread of death Becker, (1973); Durkheim (1915); Freud, 1913; Kierkegaard, (1843) "Religion resemble a fire douser. You never know when you are going to need it. So it's best to have one convenient." - - Al Franken, Oh, The Things I Know!

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Terror Management Theory Terror Management Theory (Greenberg, et al., 1990) Two approaches to adapt to the attention to death 1) Cultural perspective: reinforce one's social perspective (and disparage different perspectives) 2) Perceive oneself as a decent social part (self regard)

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Questions Does familiarity with death prompt to more confidence in powerful specialists? Social Worldview Bolstering Hypothesis : passing increments socially natural SNL conviction, diminishes socially outsider SNL conviction Distinct Supernatural Buffer Hypothesis : demise builds SNL conviction notwithstanding when socially outsider

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" Buddha" Study Religious ID (pretest) Mortality striking nature versus control story Newspaper article reporting logical learn about the force of Buddhist supplication on fruitfulness rates of ladies needing to get pregnant Questions about faith in Buddha, and Buddha's capacity to answer petitions 80 Participants at an American University, 59% Christian, 26% no religion, no Buddhists

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" Buddha" Study Key ward measures: Buddha implored hears supplications Evidence that Buddha can answer petitions Buddha/a higher power can hear petitions Buddha/a higher power can answer supplications

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Belief in The Power of Buddhist Prayer by Mostly Christians

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Results of "Buddha" Study Awareness of death energized more confidence in a socially outsider extraordinary operator Those who related to their own religion were MORE liable to trust in the force of Buddhist Prayer when passing was striking (r = .68, p < .01) In the control condition, no relationship between religious ID and confidence in Buddha (r = .03) Support for the particular cushion theory

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" Shaman" Study Essay: mortality notability versus negative influence versus control Newspaper article on the utilization of perceptive shamans in the Russian military to help with insight gathering Questions about confidence in shamanic spirits, and their capacity to offer direction and data 142 Participants in Vancouver, religious versus not

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" Shaman" Study Key ward measures: 1a) Paranormal special insight is unrealistic (RS) 1b) Ancestral shamanic spirits exist 1c) Ancestral shamanic spirits offer direction and information 2a) Achievements of program offer confirmation that tribal spirits exist 2b) Achievements of program offer proof that hereditary spirits offer direction and data 3a) God/a higher power exists 3b) God/a higher power offers dependable direction and information

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Control NA MortailitySalient Belief in Ancestral Spirits Degree of Supernatural Belief Alien Spirits Evidence God/HP Participants Indicating a Religion

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Control NA MortailitySalient Belief in Ancestral Spirits Degree of Supernatural Belief Alien Spirits Evidence God/HP Non-Religious Participants

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Ongoing Studies… Cross social all inclusive statement Yucatec Maya villagers Atheists in the foxhole Cultural transmission and adjustment of supernaturals

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Conclusions from Studies Not symptom of perspective reinforcing Not simply social distinguishing proof w/religious gathering Privileged connection between attention to mortality and otherworldly convictions "In an ocean storm, voyagers will implore any God"

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No, no, that is not a wrongdoing either. Good lord, you probably stressed yourself to death."

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Theoretical Framework (Atran & Norenzayan, in squeeze, BBS) In almost all known social orders, there are: 1) Belief in extraordinary specialists (Gods, phantoms), who oversee 2) Existential tensions (demise & social misdirection), that require 3) Costly responsibility (give up of time, assets) Ritually planned through full of feeling showcases, yielding "religion"

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The Four Cs of Religion is not a natural adjustment; it is a social result of numerous communicating mental modules and all inclusive needs Counterintuition: Intentional operators (subjective viewpoint) Compassion: Existential nerves (passionate perspective) Costly Commitment (motivational angle) Communion: ritualized coordination (social perspective)