Kirkpatrick, L. A. (1999). Toward an evolutionary psychology of religion and personality. Journal of Personality, 67, 921-952.


Evolutionary psychology is an emerging paradigm for the social sciences that offers a powerful metatheoretical framework for personality psychology and, as I attempt to demonstrate in this article, for the psychology of religion as well.  I argue that religion is not an evolved adaptation; rather, the diverse range of beliefs, behavior, and experience that we collectively refer to as religion emerge as byproducts of numerous, domain-specific psychological mechanisms that evolved to solve other (mundane) adaptive problems.  These include mechanisms for reasoning about the natural world (naive physics and biology), about other people's minds (naive psychology), and about specific kinds of interpersonal relationships (attachment, kinship, social exchange, coalitions, status hierarchies).

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