Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Natural selection and religiosity: Validity issues in the empirical examination of afterlife cognitions

Brian M. Hughes a1
a1 Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway City, Ireland.

Article author query
hughes bm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Bering's target article proposes that the tendency to believe in an afterlife emerged (in evolutionary history) in response to selective pressures unique to human societies. However, the empirical evidence presented fails to account for the broader social context that impinges upon researcher–participant interactions, and so fails to displace the more parsimonious explanation that it is childhood credulity that underlies the acquisition of afterlife beliefs through cultural exposure.