Explaining Religion Project Overview
Funded by a research grant from the European Commission, the 'Explaining Religion' (EXREL) project is a three-year interdisciplinary research initiative that seeks to understand both what is universal and cross-culturally variant in religious traditions as well as the cognitive mechanisms that undergird religious thinking and behaviour. EXREL is large-scale and ambitious in scope, integrating the world’s leading centres for psychological, biological, anthropological, and historical research on religion.
The project has four principal scientific objectives:
- To characterize precisely the main elements of the universal religious repertoire and the extent of its variation
- To establish the principal causes of the universal religious repertoire
- To account for variations in the degree of elaboration (and emphasis) of each element of the repertoire in different religious traditions, contemporaneously and historically
- To develop models for simulating future courses of transformation in specified religious systems
These objectives involve ethnographic, historical and psychological research carried out by selected fellows, postgraduate students, and European project partners. Publication of major findings can be found on this website.