Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/17083
Title: The Minds of God(s) and Humans: Differences in Mind Perception in Fiji and North America
Authors: Willard, AK
McNamara, RA
Keywords: Mind Perception;Opacity of Mind;Mind of God;Religion;Fiji;Cross-Cultural Research
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Cognitive Science
Abstract: Previous research suggests that how people conceive of minds depends on the culture in which they live, both in determining how they interact with other human minds and how they infer the unseen minds of gods. We use exploratory factor analysis to compare how people from different societies with distinct models of human minds and different religious traditions perceive the minds of humans and gods. In two North American samples (American adults, N=186; Canadian students, N=202), we replicated a previously found two-factor agency/experience structure for both human and divine minds, but in Fijian samples (Indigenous iTaukei Fijians, N=77; Fijians of Indian descent, N=214; total N=679) we found a three-factor structure, with the additional containing items related to social relationships. Further, Fijians’ responses revealed a different three-factor structure for human minds and gods’ minds. We used these factors as dimensions in the conception of minds to predict a) expectations about human and divine tendencies towards punishment and reward; and b) conception of gods as more embodied (an extension of experience) or more able to know people’s thoughts (an extension of agency). We found variation in how these factors predict conceptions of agents across groups, indicating further theory is needed to explain how culturally generated concepts of mind lead to other sorts of social inferences. We conclude that mind perception is shaped by culturally defined social expectations and recommend further work in different cultural contexts to examine the interplay between culture and social cognition.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/17083
ISSN: 0364-0213
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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