The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behavior

  • Eckart Voland
  • Wulf Schiefenhövel

Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Wulf Schiefenhövel, Eckart Voland
    Pages 1-7
  3. Rüdiger Vaas
    Pages 25-49
  4. Rebekah A. Richert, Erin I. Smith
    Pages 181-193
  5. Erica Harris, Patrick McNamara
    Pages 205-215
  6. Ulrich Frey
    Pages 229-241
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 293-304

About this book


In a Darwinian world, religious behavior - just like other behaviors - is likely to have undergone a process of natural selection in which it was rewarded in the evolutionary currency of reproductive success. This book aims to provide a better understanding of the social scenarios in which selection pressure led to religious practices becoming an evolved human trait, i.e. an adaptive answer to the conditions of living and surviving that prevailed among our prehistoric ancestors. This aim is pursued by a team of expert authors from a range of disciplines. Their contributions examine the relevant physiological, emotional, cognitive and social processes. The resulting understanding of the functional interplay of these processes gives valuable insights into the biological roots and benefits of religion.


Adaptive value of religion Anthropology and religion Charles Darwin Darwin Evolution Evolution of religious behaviour Evolutionary psychology Group selection Natural selection of religious behavior Propensity for religious behavior Religion Religion instinct Sociobiology and religiosity natural selection

Editors and affiliations

  • Eckart Voland
    • 1
  • Wulf Schiefenhövel
    • 2
  1. 1.Zentrum für Philosophie undUniversität GießenGießenGermany
  2. 2.MPI für OrnithologieAndechsGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-00127-7
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-00128-4
  • Series Print ISSN 1612-3018
  • Buy this book on publisher's site