Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Toward a new scientific study of religion

Luther H. Martin a1
a1 Department of Religion, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405


Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) have proposed a study of religion based in the cognitive sciences. Their final conclusions, however, incorporate functionalist definitions. Further, key features by which they characterize religion are not instantiated by some historical evidence. Nevertheless, the foci of their arguments are central to any study of religion and should provoke further research and experimentation along the lines suggested.