Religion

Dimitris Xygalatas’ photo essay in Sapiens

Sapien, the online journal of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, has published a photo essay by Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCONN. The essay entitled “The Perennial Power of Ritual” focuses on the psychological, and cultural significance of ritual behavior, including its role in stress reduction, community building, providing guidance, and aggression management. The photo essay covers examples of ritual practice in Spain, Madagascar, Vietnam, Mauritius, and Guatemala.

Dimitris Xygalatas

Don Seeman lecture “Coffee and the Moral Order”

The Religious Cultures Speakers Series presents a lecture by Don Seeman of Emory University, entitled “Coffee and the Moral Order: Ethiopian Jews and Pentecostals against Culture.”

Please join us on Tuesday, November 1, 11:00-12:20, in Laurel Hall 305.

The Religious Cultures Speakers Series is sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, African Studies Institute, Center for Judaic Studies, Department of Anthropology, and the James Barnett Endowment for Humanistic Anthropology.

 

Don Seeman

Stephen Glazier lecture “Demanding Deities & Reluctant Devotees”

The Religious Cultures Speakers Series presents a lecture by Stephen Glazier from University of Nebraska, Lincoln, entitled ” Demanding Deities and Reluctant Devotees: Belief, Unbelief, and Affect among Followers of the Orisa, Rastafari, and Spiritual Baptists Movements in Trinidad.”

Please join us on Thursday, September 22, 11:00-12:20, in Laurel Hall 305.

The Religious Cultures Speakers Series is sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, Department of Anthropology, and the James Barnett Endowment for Humanistic Anthropology.

 

Stephen Glazier

Adam Selingman’s lecture “Living with Difference”

Please join us on February 29, 2016 at 2:15 for a talk by Adam Seligman, Professor of Religion at Boston University entitled: “Living with Difference”. Adam’s talk is the second in the James Barnett Lecture Series in Humanistic Anthropology Religion and Public Discourse.
These talks are sponsored by the Public Discourse Project, UConn Humanities Institute and the James Barnett Lecture Series. For more information on the talk, please follow this link: http://humanities.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/785/2016/02/Seligman-poster.pdf

All lectures are open to the public and will be held at The Humanities Institute (UCHI), Austin Building, Room 301. For more information please contact Richard Sosis (richard.sosis@uconn.edu
 
adam seligman

New paper about environmental cues and fairness

It Depends Who Is Watching You: 3-D Agent Cues Increase Fairness


Jan Krátký, John J. McGraw, Dimitris Xygalatas, Panagiotis Mitkidis, Paul Reddish

god

Laboratory and field studies have demonstrated that exposure to cues of intentional agents in the form of eyes can increase prosocial behavior. However, previous research mostly used 2-dimensional depictions as experimental stimuli. Thus far no study has examined the influence of the spatial properties of agency cues on this prosocial effect. To investigate the role of dimensionality of agency cues on fairness, 345 participants engaged in a decision-making task in a naturalistic setting. The experimental treatment included a 3-dimensional pseudo-realistic model of a human head and a 2-dimensional picture of the same object. The control stimuli consisted of a real plant and its 2-D image. Our results partly support the findings of previous studies that cues of intentional agents increase prosocial behavior…..


D. Xygalatas’ research on moralistic gods published in Nature

Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality


Benjamin Grant Purzycki, Coren Apicella, Quentin D. Atkinson, Emma Cohen, Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K. Willard, Dimitris Xygalatas, Ara Norenzayan & Joseph Henrich

moralistic gods

Since the origins of agriculture, the scale of human cooperation and societal complexity has dramatically expanded. This fact challenges standard evolutionary explanations of prosociality because well-studied mechanisms of cooperation based on genetic relatedness, reciprocity and partner choice falter as people increasingly engage in fleeting transactions with genetically unrelated strangers in large anonymous groups. To explain this rapid expansion of prosociality, researchers have proposed several mechanisms. Here we focus on one key hypothesis: cognitive representations of gods as increasingly knowledgeable and punitive, and who sanction violators of interpersonal social norms, foster and sustain the expansion of cooperation, trust and fairness towards co-religionist strangers….


Coverage of Lang et al. work in UCONN Today

UCONN Today covered a recent publication on anxiety and ritualization published in Current Biology by Martin Lang and Dimitris Xygalatas.
 

cleaning task copy
Rinse and repeat to remove anxiety

The study found stress can result in action that could help as a coping strategy to reduce anxiety, a determination that may lead to a better understanding of psychiatric disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism spectrum disorders.
Advances in motion sensing technology offered researchers a new way to test for a link between ritual and anxiety. Although the link has been theorized for many years in social science research, the study is the first hard evidence of a relationship between the two, according to Martin Lang, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at UConn who led the study….