Archives for 2012 | blog

Rituals: The power of pain

Article by Nicholas Rainer in the national circulation Mauritian Newspaper L’Express, on MALEXA research conducted in Mauritius.
Read the article here

Effects of religious setting on cooperative behavior: a case study from Mauritius

The first results of the work supported by MALEXA have been published in the journal Religion, Brain and Behavior.
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Social scientists and folk wisdom have both claimed that there is an association between religiosity and prosocial behavior, but hard evidence for such a relationship is limited. Studies show that religiosity is correlated with self- reported prosociality; however, this relationship is not very clear when it comes to observed prosocial behaviors. Experimental studies reveal a link between religious priming and prosocial behaviors, and these effects are evident irrespective of the degree of religiosity of the participant. Building on and combining the strengths of previous field designs, I report on the results of a field experiment in Mauritius examining the effects of religious environments on cooperation in a naturalistic setting. These results were consistent with previous findings that religious cues increase cooperation. Importantly, this effect was not dependent on degrees of prior religiosity. Plausible interpretations of such effects are discussed.
Read the article here

International research project on Religion and Morality to be conducted in 15 societies, including Mauritius

The Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium is launching one of the largest scientific investigations of religion ever to be conducted. The project, entitled “The Evolution of Religion and Morality”, brings together researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines including history, psychology, anthropology, biology and neuroscience, and over 20 global institutions, including Harvard and Oxford.
Principle Investigator Edward Slingerland told
Science and Religion Today:
Historical team members will perform analyses of textual traditions in the original languages, covering a broad range of human religious experience from ancient Chinese and Near Eastern religions to contemporary Islam, indigenous religions, and spiritualist movements in 20th-century Britain, including both traditional qualitative work and novel quantitative techniques that can be employed to analyze large-scale, digital archives… By the end of the six-year period, we also hope to have assembled a massive database of religious and social history that can be used by the global research community to test hypotheses about the dynamic relations between religious, social, economic, and ecological variables. Experimental-ethnographic team members will coordinate on systematic, comparative studies employing interview-based, observational, and experimental techniques (including fMRI), targeting community samples and field sites in Vancouver, Shanghai, Denmark, New York, the United Kingdom, Fiji, mainland China, Taiwan, India, Brazil, Southern Europe, Vanuatu, Israel, New Zealand, and Mauritius.
Read the full interview here

Interacting Minds Centre launched at Aarhus University

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Aarhus University has established the Interacting Minds Centre (IMC) as a new interdisciplinary initiative.
The Centre brings together researchers from all four main academic areas in experimental studies of cognition, communication and choice. The Centre officially opened its doors on August 24 with an academic workshop.
IMC is the main academic basis for MALEXA
Visit the IMC website

UBC gains $3.8 million for major studies on religion, security, trade

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The University of British Columbia has launched major new research projects on religion and morality, terrorism and security, international relations in the digital age, free trade and sustainability, thanks to $3.8 million in new funding from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Of the funding, nearly $3 million will support the world’s largest study on the evolution of religion and morality. Led by UBC Faculty of Arts Prof. Edward Slingerland, the six-year project will bring together researchers from 20 global institutions, including Harvard and Oxford, to advance our understanding of religion and its role in society.

Mauritius, through MALEXA, will be one of the primary field locations for this project.
Read the full story here

Aarhus University researchers meet with Mauritian Minister of Tertiary Education

Aarhus University researchers Dimitris Xygalatas and Panos Mitkidis were received by Dr. Rajesh Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology. Photo from the Minister’s blog.

Aarhus University researchers Dimitris Xygalatas and Panos Mitkidis visited Dr. Rajesh Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology during their recent expedition to Mauritius. Read More...