Beliefs in afterlife as a by-product of persistence judgments
|George E. Newman a1
, Sergey V. Blok a2
and Lance J. Rips a3
a1 Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520 firstname.lastname@example.org
a2 Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712 email@example.com
a3 Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208. firstname.lastname@example.org
We agree that supernatural beliefs are pervasive. However, we propose a more general account rooted in how people trace ordinary objects over time. Tracking identity involves attending to the causal history of an object, a process that may implicate hidden mechanisms. We discuss experiments in which participants exhibit the same “supernatural” beliefs when reasoning about the fates of cups and automobiles as those exhibited by Bering's participants when reasoning about spirits.