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Supernatural SelectionHow Religion Evolved$
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Matt Rossano

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385816

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385816.001.0001

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Religion Is (or Was) an Adaptation

Religion Is (or Was) an Adaptation

(p.151) 7 Religion Is (or Was) an Adaptation
Supernatural Selection

Matt J. Rossano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 argues that religion was a cultural adaptation. In its earliest form, religion was shamanism. A primary focus of shamanistic rituals was to bring about community and individual healing. Shamanism accomplished this by creating conditions that made placebo healing likely to occur. Shamanism brought together three important factors known to enhance placebo effects: confidence in healing power, highly suggestible mental states, and strong social support networks. Empirical evidence is reviewed supporting the notion that even today, religion continues to have positive effects on psychological and physical health, longevity, and reproductive success.

Keywords:   adaptation, by-product, culture, fertility, healing, placebo, shamanism, social support

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