The bounds of religious cognition: Study of cognitive and cultural factors in Czech and Polish societies

PI: dr hab. Konrad Talmont-Kaminski
Funding: Czech Science Foundation, project num. 21-31059S

The state of religiosity and supernatural beliefs of European population rapidly changes, although not in agreement with previous estimates of development toward secularization. To better understand the change, we need not only to map its direction including all detours toward superstitions and alternative facts, but also to uncover underlying mechanisms of supernatural beliefs. Based on research directions and methods previously used by the principal investigator and the team as well as by other cognitive scientists, here we propose a detailed comparative study of supernatural beliefs, cognitive skills, and demographics of mostly non-religious Czech and mostly religious Polish population samples (over 10,000 respondents in each country) of internet users and university students (over 300 subjects participating in experimental sessions in each country). We will use both internet surveys and behavioural laboratory testing methods to uncover evolutionary causes of religiosity and patterns in individual belief systems, and to categorize the supernatural claims in an explanatory fashion.