Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion

Exploring the Nexus of Culture, Mind & Religion

Visit IBCSR's public outreach site for the latest news on research in the scientific study of religion.

IBCSR Research Review is a free email newsletter surveying recent work in the scientific study of religion.

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Religion, Brain & Behavior is the flagship journal in the bio-cultural study of religion, discounted in an IBCSR membership.

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  • Science and the World's Religions

    Three volumes of original essays for genereal readers

    Each essay addresses a vital existential, moral, or metaphysical issue that many thoughtful people ponder—an issue on which satisfying progress requires integrating scientific and religious insights.

        Volume 1: Origins and Destinies

        Volume 2: Persons and Groups

        Volume 3: Religions and Controversies

  • Spectrums Project

    Understanding-based empathy in diverse communities

    IBCSR's Spectrums Project is an ambitious attempt to apply what is known about ideological spectrums in politics and morality to the field of religious beliefs and practices. The project's goal is twofold: to deepen understanding of why human beings adopt a spectrum of religious and theological viewpoints, and to discover strategies for mitigating the problems associated with religious extremism and polarized religious discourse.

  • Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project

    Investigating the neurology of religious experience

    The Neuroscience and Religious Cognition Project identifies the alterations in neural systems in patients with Parkinson’s Disease that could account for previously observed reductions in religiosity and in fluent access to religious concepts. The project uses advances in functional imaging, cognitive priming methods, and classical ‘on-off’ levodopa comparative techniques.

  • Quantifying Religious Experience Project

    Tools for multidimensional analysis and comparison

    QRXP develops methods for measuring the distinctive cognitive and emotional features of religious experiences. This furnishes a basis for the comparison of religious and spiritual experiences across demographic groups (such as men and women) and across diverse cultures. Such analyses and comparisons are vital for an adequate interpretation of these fascinating experiences.

  • Simulating Religion Project

    Revealing the causal architecture of social cognition

    The Simulating Religion Project aims to develop software to simulate social interactions associated with religious cognition. SRP integrates multiple theories and is capable of testing a variety of hypotheses regarding religion’s effects on culture. SRP will try to answer questions such as: What are the factors that contribute to civilizational transformation? What role does religion play in social change? How do evolved cognitive, emotional and social tendencies interact?

  • Spirituality and Health Causation Project

    Tracing causal pathways between spirituality and health

    IBCSR's Spirituality and Health Causation Project aims to move beyond the thousands of correlational studies identifying the health effects of religious and spiritual practices to identify the causal, biochemical mechanisms that mediate spirituality-health connections.

  • Sex Differences & Religion

    A bio-cultural approach to sex, gender, and religion

    The biological evolution of sex in our planetary ecosystem is a complex story covering millions of species and billions of years. The human species further complicates this story with the bio-cultural evolution of sex and gender in complex social niches. Religion and spirituality have played important roles in this process. This project employs perspectives from biological and cultural evolution, developmental biology, neuroscience, social construction, and ethics to understand the intricate influences among sex, gender, religion, and spirituality.

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