Current Grants

Ritual Modes: Divergent modes of ritual, social cohesion, prosociality, and conflict.

Principal Investigator: Harvey Whitehouse.
This Project aims to establish an authoritative scientific framework for understanding the relationship between group ritual, social cohesion, and pro-group behaviour. 
Rituals have shaped human societies for millennia, but the exact social consequences of rituals are poorly understood. This project seeks to identify the fundamental components of rituals worldwide and chart their effects on patterns of group alignment and action. The project has three tightly linked objectives. 
     Objective 1 explores the psychological mechanisms underlying rituals’ effects on group cohesion and behaviour in ten nations 
     Objective 2 focuses on the ritual dynamics of special populations exposed to group-related violence (e.g., war veterans, ex-convicts, war-torn communities) 
     Objective 3 examines the functions of ritual and cohesion in cultural group selection
Overall, these research objectives aim to provide insights into key questions (e.g., what are the fundamental building blocks of group rituals?), understudied groups (e.g., revolutionary combatants), and unresolved debates in many fields (e.g., what motivates self-sacrifice?). This is a five-year project involving collaborations with anthropologists, psychologists, historians, archaeologists, and evolutionary theorists from around the world with data collection in Brazil, Japan, USA, Libya, Cameroon, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu.

The Cognitive and Cultural Foundations of Religion and Morality 

Principal Investigator: Harvey Whitehouse and Jonathan Jong. 
This project explores the relationship between religious beliefs and moral beliefs across cultures. Although there is much diversity in the particular cultural manifestations of religious and moral beliefs, there are also some commonly recurrent patterns and themes. Religion, for example, often involves supernatural agents and collective rituals. Morality often involves notions of fairness and purity. There is, furthermore, a widespread belief that religion and morality are deeply connected, but it is unclear how—if at all—they are in fact related. This project therefore aims to collect cross-cultural empirical evidence on this alleged connection.

ALIGNED: Quality-centric Software and Data Engineering.

Principal Investigator: Kevin Feeney. Co-Investigators: Jim Davies, Harvey Whitehouse, Sebastian Hellemann, Andreas Koller, Christian Dirschl, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Jeremy Gibbons, Piotr Bledzki, and Pieter François.
ALIGNED quality-centric, software and data engineering is a research project funded by Horizon 2020. ALIGNED will lay the foundations for the next generation of big data systems that lower costs and deal with the web data challenges of dynamism, complexity, scale and inconsistency. 

Past Grants

Natural Governance Project.
Principal Investigators: Dominic Johnson, David Macdonald, and Harvey Whitehouse.
Axial-Age Religions and the Z-Curve of Human Egalitarianism.
Principal Investigator: Peter Turchin. Co-Investigators: Thomas Currie, Harvey Whitehouse, Peter Peregrine, Kevin Feeney, and Douglas White.
Identifying the Intra-Group Causes of Inter-Group Conflict: Toward an Interdisciplinary Framework and Research Centre.
Principal Investigator: Harvey Whitehouse
Religion’s Impact on Human Life: Integrating Proximate and Ultimate Perspectives.
Principal Investigators: Harvey Whitehouse, David Sloan Wilson, and Jon Lanman. 
The Development of Teleological and Causal Reasoning About Ritualized Action.
Co-Investigators: Harvey Whitehouse and Cristine Legare
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