Religions Can't Be Tamed

Pascal Boyer & Harvey Whitehouse discuss "wild" religions.

Existing outside, and within, organized and “tamed” religions, the practices of wild religion are authentic expressions of spontaneous spirituality and, as such, they may hold secrets that can contribute to a much richer understanding of the psychology of religion as a whole: why, what and how people believe. Further project information.

15 April 2021

Unboxing Cultural Rituals: Christmas in Pandemic Times

Why do children believe in Santa Claus? How could Christmas rituals bring us closer together in the current pandemic? By exploring the fundamental causes and consequences of cultural rituals, CSSC Director and ERC grantee Harvey Whitehouse could provide answers to these questions. Related article.

17 December 2020

How to be Good

TEDx talk by Oliver Scott Curry, CSSC Research Affiliate, exploring questions such as "What’s the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral?"

9 March 2020

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists

Talks at Google: Julia Ebner, CSSC DPhil candidate, discusses the ways in which these groups radicalize their members and what can be done to counter them.

25 February 2020

Martha Newson on Stress and Football Fans

BBC 5live interview with Adrian Chiles.

January 2020

Why We Hate: Sport Fan Bonding & Violence

Segment from Episode 2: Tribalism, featuring Martha Newson. Part of a Discovery UK investigation into hate, produced by Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney. 

20 October 2019

Extraordinary Rituals

As Chief Consultant on the BBC2 ‘Extraordinary Rituals’ series, Harvey Whitehouse reports from behind the scenes.

17 August 2018

Giving Vitality Back in Our Values to Open Societies

TEDx talk by Scott Atran, L’echappée volêe. 

July 2017

The Pain, the Past, and the Day After Tomorrow

Opening Keynote by Lord Alderdice recorded for 'The Day After Tomorrow' CASSE event, which took place in Melbourne, Australia.

25 March 2017

Hopes and Dreams in a World of Fear

Scott Atran's presentation at the World Government Summit, Dubai.

February 2017

Quelling Radicalization Through New Understanding of Ritual, Fusion and Identity

Harvey Whitehouse's Ideas Lab presentation at the World Economic Forum, in partnership with the European Research Council.

18 January 2017

Analysing the Limits of Rational Choice in Political and Cultural Conflict

Scott Atran's Ideas Lab presentation at the World Economic Forum.

January 2017

Why Facts Don't Unify Us

Harvey Whitehouse's Betazone presentation at the World Economic Forum, in partnership with Nature Publishing Group.

17 January 2017

How Far Right and Islamist Extremists Amplify Each Other's Rhetoric

TEDx talk by Julia Ebner, CSSC DPhil candidate.

10 November 2016

What Makes A Terrorist?

Scott Atran's segment in 'Through the Wormhole' with Morgan Freeman, on the Discovery Channel.

August 2016

​​​​​What Can the Reaction to the Death of Cecil the Lion Tell Us About Human Co-operation?

Dominic Johnson, David Macdonald and Harvey Whitehouse, Directors of the Oxford Martin Programme on Natural Governance, look at what the reaction to Cecil's death can tell us about human co-operation.

June 2016

Early Civilization and Belief

Harvey Whitehouse appeared in episode 4, 'Creation', of 'The Story of God with Morgan Freeman', on the National Geographic Channel.

24 April 2016

Why Are Rituals Important?

Harvey Whitehouse and Daniel Mullins discuss how Seshat: The Global History Databank can help researchers examine the role of rituals in binding communities together throughout human history.

17 September 2015 

Religion Past and Present

Harvey Whitehouse's panel participation at the Integrative Science Symposium, International Convention of Psychological Science, Effectenbeurszaal, Amsterdam.

13 March 2015

Rituals As Social Glue: An Interview With Harvey Whitehouse

An interview with anthropologist Harvey Whitehouse about the role of rituals in the evolution and maintenance of social behaviour.

23 December 2013 

New Atheism, Ritual, and Identity Fusion: A Walk in the Park With Harvey Whitehouse

Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition, and Culture, University of British Columbia.

20 August 2013

LEVYNA Interview with Harvey Whitehouse

Laboratory for Experimental Research on Religion (LEVYNA), Masaryk University.

25 February 2013



The guru playbook
Chris Kavanagh on The Guru Playbook

Chris Kavanagh, CSSC Researcher, speaks to ABC's All in the Mind about the guru playbook and why we should get smart to their tactics.

6 June 2021

Listen to the recording on the ABC's website.  

BBC | The World Tonight - Martha Newson_2020.12.08
Martha Newson on Football and Racism

Martha Newson, CSSC Research Affiliate, speaks to BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight on football fans, racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

8 December 2020

BBC Radio Oxford - Interview_Valerie van Mulukom
Band of Mothers: Childbirth as a Female Bonding Experience

Valerie van Mulukom, CSSC Research Affiliate, speaks to BBC Radio Oxford about the findings of a new study by the University of Oxford.

31 October 2020

Breaking Away From the Pack: Harvey speaks to BFM Malaysia about identity fusion, barrier-crossing leadership and tackling extremism.
Breaking Away From the Pack

CSSC Director speaks to BFM Malaysia about identity fusion, barrier-crossing leadership and tackling extremism.

10 December 2019

audio  social science bites2
Harvey Whitehouse On Rituals

CSSC Director talks to the Social Science Bites podcast about his research into rituals.

5 September 2019

Audio | What Motivates Someone to Join the Battle in Iraq? ©ABC News/Aaron Hollett
What Motivates Someone to Join the Battle in Iraq?

Scott Atran talks to Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast, ABC Australia.

5 September 2017



Why children really believe in Santa – the surprising psychology behind tradition
Rohan Kapitány | The Conversation
December 2019

Solving the Puzzle of Supercooperators Means Studying Cooperation Cooperatively
Harvey Whitehouse | The Seshat Newsletter
26 November 2019

A bad time for (some) theories but a good time for history?
Harvey Whitehouse & Pieter François | Cliodynamica
5 May 2019

De-redicalization or De-fusion?
Harvey Whitehouse | Social Change Lab
8 October 2018

Do Universal Moral Intuitions Shape and Constrain Culturally Prevalent Moral Norms?
Harvey Whitehouse & Ryan McKay | The Evolution Institute
17 May 2018

Families Succeed Where Weapons and Security Fail
Julia Ebner & Leah Selig Chauhan | Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI)
3 May 2017

People are intensely loyal to groups which abuse newcomers. Why?
Christopher Kavanagh | Aeon Magazine
16 January 2017

Developing the Field Site Concept for the Study of Cultural Evolution: The Promise and the Perils
Christopher Kavanagh & Yo Nakawake | The Evolution Institute
December 2016

Developing the Field Site Concept for the Study of Cultural Evolution: An Anthropologist's View
Harvey Whitehouse | Social Evolution Forum
19 October 2016

Religion Without Belief
Christopher Kavanagh | Aeon Magazine
15 September 2016

Did Easter Island culture collapse? The answer is not so simple
Christopher Kavanagh | Aeon Magazine
11 May 2016 

The Role of Ritual in the Evolution of Social Complexity: Five Predictions and a Drum Roll
Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter François & Peter Turchin | Social Evolution Forum
19 October 2015

Three Wishes for the World
Harvey Whitehouse | Social Evolution Forum
12 March 2013

To Understand Present Day Cultures We Must Study the Past: a Commentary on David Sloan Wilson
Michael Hochberg & Harvey Whitehouse | Social Evolution Forum
15 October 2012

Intelligent Design Versus Random Mutation? (A comment on Steven Pinker)
Harvey Whitehouse & Ryan McKay | Social Evolution Forum
22 June 2012

Four Recipes for Religion
Harvey Whitehouse | International Cognition and Culture Institute
25 January 2010

Anthropology in Crisis - What, Still?
Harvey Whitehouse | International Cognition and Culture Institute
7 June 2009

Why Do We Sometimes De-Humanize Our Fellow Humans? Some Preliminary Reflections
Harvey Whitehouse & Justin Barrett | International Cognition and Culture Institute
21 December 2008