An exploration of the functions of religious monumental architecture from a Darwinian perspective

Y. Joye, J. Verpooten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, the cognitive science of religion has displayed a keen interest in religions’ social function, bolstering research on religious prosociality and cooperativeness. The main objective of this article is to explore, from a arwinian perspective, the biological and psychological mechanisms through which religious monumental architecture (RMA) might support that specific function. A frequently held view is that monumental architecture is a costly signal that served vertical social stratification in complex large-scale societies. In this paper we extend that view. We hypothesize that the function(s) of RMA
cannot be fully appreciated from a costly signaling perspective alone, and invoke a complementary mechanism, namely sensory exploitation. We propose that, in addition to being a costly signal, RMA also often taps into an daptive “sensitivity for bigness.” The central hypothesis of this paper is that when cases of RMA strongly stimulate that sensitivity, and when commoners become aware of the costly investments that are necessary to build RMA, then this may give rise to a particular emotional response, namely awe. We will try to demonstrate that, by exploiting awe, RMA promotes and regulates prosocial
behavior among religious followers and creates in them an openness to adopt supernatural beliefs.
Keywords: religious monumental architecture, sensory exploitation, costly signaling, awe, supernatural beliefs
LanguageEnglish
Pages53-68
JournalReview of General Psychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Monumental Architecture
Religion
Exploitation
Costly Signaling
Supernatural
Key Words
Psychological
Follower
Social Stratification
Commoners
Cognitive Science of Religion
Openness
Emotional Response
Social Function
Cooperativeness

Cite this

@article{c72a0336845b4410b7437d69ba373580,
title = "An exploration of the functions of religious monumental architecture from a Darwinian perspective",
abstract = "In recent years, the cognitive science of religion has displayed a keen interest in religions’ social function, bolstering research on religious prosociality and cooperativeness. The main objective of this article is to explore, from a arwinian perspective, the biological and psychological mechanisms through which religious monumental architecture (RMA) might support that specific function. A frequently held view is that monumental architecture is a costly signal that served vertical social stratification in complex large-scale societies. In this paper we extend that view. We hypothesize that the function(s) of RMAcannot be fully appreciated from a costly signaling perspective alone, and invoke a complementary mechanism, namely sensory exploitation. We propose that, in addition to being a costly signal, RMA also often taps into an daptive “sensitivity for bigness.” The central hypothesis of this paper is that when cases of RMA strongly stimulate that sensitivity, and when commoners become aware of the costly investments that are necessary to build RMA, then this may give rise to a particular emotional response, namely awe. We will try to demonstrate that, by exploiting awe, RMA promotes and regulates prosocialbehavior among religious followers and creates in them an openness to adopt supernatural beliefs.Keywords: religious monumental architecture, sensory exploitation, costly signaling, awe, supernatural beliefs",
author = "Y. Joye and J. Verpooten",
year = "2013",
doi = "10.1037/a0029920",
language = "English",
volume = "17",
pages = "53--68",
journal = "Review of General Psychology",
issn = "1089-2680",
publisher = "American Psychological Association",
number = "1",

}

An exploration of the functions of religious monumental architecture from a Darwinian perspective. / Joye, Y.; Verpooten, J.

In: Review of General Psychology, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2013, p. 53-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - An exploration of the functions of religious monumental architecture from a Darwinian perspective

AU - Joye, Y.

AU - Verpooten, J.

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - In recent years, the cognitive science of religion has displayed a keen interest in religions’ social function, bolstering research on religious prosociality and cooperativeness. The main objective of this article is to explore, from a arwinian perspective, the biological and psychological mechanisms through which religious monumental architecture (RMA) might support that specific function. A frequently held view is that monumental architecture is a costly signal that served vertical social stratification in complex large-scale societies. In this paper we extend that view. We hypothesize that the function(s) of RMAcannot be fully appreciated from a costly signaling perspective alone, and invoke a complementary mechanism, namely sensory exploitation. We propose that, in addition to being a costly signal, RMA also often taps into an daptive “sensitivity for bigness.” The central hypothesis of this paper is that when cases of RMA strongly stimulate that sensitivity, and when commoners become aware of the costly investments that are necessary to build RMA, then this may give rise to a particular emotional response, namely awe. We will try to demonstrate that, by exploiting awe, RMA promotes and regulates prosocialbehavior among religious followers and creates in them an openness to adopt supernatural beliefs.Keywords: religious monumental architecture, sensory exploitation, costly signaling, awe, supernatural beliefs

AB - In recent years, the cognitive science of religion has displayed a keen interest in religions’ social function, bolstering research on religious prosociality and cooperativeness. The main objective of this article is to explore, from a arwinian perspective, the biological and psychological mechanisms through which religious monumental architecture (RMA) might support that specific function. A frequently held view is that monumental architecture is a costly signal that served vertical social stratification in complex large-scale societies. In this paper we extend that view. We hypothesize that the function(s) of RMAcannot be fully appreciated from a costly signaling perspective alone, and invoke a complementary mechanism, namely sensory exploitation. We propose that, in addition to being a costly signal, RMA also often taps into an daptive “sensitivity for bigness.” The central hypothesis of this paper is that when cases of RMA strongly stimulate that sensitivity, and when commoners become aware of the costly investments that are necessary to build RMA, then this may give rise to a particular emotional response, namely awe. We will try to demonstrate that, by exploiting awe, RMA promotes and regulates prosocialbehavior among religious followers and creates in them an openness to adopt supernatural beliefs.Keywords: religious monumental architecture, sensory exploitation, costly signaling, awe, supernatural beliefs

U2 - 10.1037/a0029920

DO - 10.1037/a0029920

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 53

EP - 68

JO - Review of General Psychology

T2 - Review of General Psychology

JF - Review of General Psychology

SN - 1089-2680

IS - 1

ER -