Cultural anthropologist discusses rituals, March 2
Posted February 23, 2006; 11:05 p.m.
Pascal Boyer, the Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective
Memory at Washington University in St. Louis, will speak on "Why People
Perform Rituals" at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in 101 Friend Center.
Boyer is an internationally recognized scholar whose work brings together anthropology, psychology, philosophy and neuroscience to examine the relationships among cultural evolution, the mind and the brain. He has developed innovative ways of examining subjects’ responses to specific language about God and other supernatural beliefs in cross-cultural experimental settings.
Trained in cultural anthropology, Boyer has for the past decade pioneered the application of cognitive theory to an evolutionary understanding of religion. His major publications include "The Naturalness of Religious Ideas: A Cognitive Theory of Religion"; "Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought"; and "Religious Thought and Behavior as By-products of Brain Function."
The event is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion.