Fitouchi, Léo and Singh, Manvir (2022) Supernatural punishment beliefs as cognitively compelling tools of social control. Current Opinion in Psychology, vol. 44. pp. 252-257.

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Identification Number : 10.1016/j.copsyc.2021.09.022


Why do humans develop beliefs in supernatural entities that punish uncooperative behaviors? Leading hypotheses maintain that these beliefs are widespread because they facilitate cooperation, allowing their groups to outcompete others in intergroup competition. Focusing on within-group interactions, we present a model in which people strategically endorse supernatural punishment beliefs as intuitive tools of social control to manipulate others into cooperating. Others accept these beliefs, meanwhile, because they are made compelling by various cognitive biases: they appear to provide information about why misfortune occurs; they appeal to intuitions about immanent justice; they contain threatening information; and they allow believers to signal their trustworthiness. Explaining supernatural beliefs requires considering both motivations to invest in their endorsement and the reasons others adopt them.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: April 2022
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2023 13:23
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2023 13:23
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