How does the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system help to explain religious prosociality?

Hillary Lenfesty, Thomas G. Fikes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human cooperation relies extensively on evolved neurobiological mechanisms of positive affect and social engagement. Nevertheless, current models of religious prosociality–aimed at explaining the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation–are grounded in the fear of supernatural punishment. We propose an expansion of research on religious prosociality to encompass the breadth of physiological adaptations supporting social engagement, and suggest Polyvagal Theory as a methodologically and theoretically useful starting point: measuring variations in heart rate, which reflect underlying autonomic physiology adapted specifically for threat and social engagement, may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-308
Number of pages4
JournalReligion, Brain and Behavior
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017

Fingerprint

Autonomic Nervous System
Religion
Physiological Adaptation
Punishment
Fear
Heart Rate
Research

Keywords

  • cooperation
  • neurobiology
  • prosociality
  • Social engagement system
  • supernatural punishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

How does the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system help to explain religious prosociality? / Lenfesty, Hillary; Fikes, Thomas G.

In: Religion, Brain and Behavior, Vol. 7, No. 4, 02.10.2017, p. 305-308.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c9708ac58e9843469fb5d7652503644c,
title = "How does the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system help to explain religious prosociality?",
abstract = "Human cooperation relies extensively on evolved neurobiological mechanisms of positive affect and social engagement. Nevertheless, current models of religious prosociality–aimed at explaining the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation–are grounded in the fear of supernatural punishment. We propose an expansion of research on religious prosociality to encompass the breadth of physiological adaptations supporting social engagement, and suggest Polyvagal Theory as a methodologically and theoretically useful starting point: measuring variations in heart rate, which reflect underlying autonomic physiology adapted specifically for threat and social engagement, may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation.",
keywords = "cooperation, neurobiology, prosociality, Social engagement system, supernatural punishment",
author = "Hillary Lenfesty and Fikes, {Thomas G.}",
year = "2017",
month = "10",
day = "2",
doi = "10.1080/2153599X.2016.1249925",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "7",
pages = "305--308",
journal = "Religion, Brain and Behavior",
issn = "2153-599X",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - How does the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system help to explain religious prosociality?

AU - Lenfesty, Hillary

AU - Fikes, Thomas G.

PY - 2017/10/2

Y1 - 2017/10/2

N2 - Human cooperation relies extensively on evolved neurobiological mechanisms of positive affect and social engagement. Nevertheless, current models of religious prosociality–aimed at explaining the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation–are grounded in the fear of supernatural punishment. We propose an expansion of research on religious prosociality to encompass the breadth of physiological adaptations supporting social engagement, and suggest Polyvagal Theory as a methodologically and theoretically useful starting point: measuring variations in heart rate, which reflect underlying autonomic physiology adapted specifically for threat and social engagement, may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation.

AB - Human cooperation relies extensively on evolved neurobiological mechanisms of positive affect and social engagement. Nevertheless, current models of religious prosociality–aimed at explaining the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation–are grounded in the fear of supernatural punishment. We propose an expansion of research on religious prosociality to encompass the breadth of physiological adaptations supporting social engagement, and suggest Polyvagal Theory as a methodologically and theoretically useful starting point: measuring variations in heart rate, which reflect underlying autonomic physiology adapted specifically for threat and social engagement, may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role of religion in the evolution of cooperation.

KW - cooperation

KW - neurobiology

KW - prosociality

KW - Social engagement system

KW - supernatural punishment

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85015047090&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85015047090&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/2153599X.2016.1249925

DO - 10.1080/2153599X.2016.1249925

M3 - Article

VL - 7

SP - 305

EP - 308

JO - Religion, Brain and Behavior

JF - Religion, Brain and Behavior

SN - 2153-599X

IS - 4

ER -