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David Maij investigates two cognitive biases that are hypothesized to predispose people to adopt supernatural beliefs: The hypersensitive agency device and mentalizing abilities. The hypersensitive agency detection device is a hypothesized cognitive mechanism that responds over-actively to ambiguous information that could potentially signal the presence of other agents (e.g. other humans, animals or creatures). Mentalizing is the ability to attribute intentions and beliefs to other minds (e.g. interpreting that someone is angry when they slam the door). He carries out a number of studies investigating whether there are correlations between agency detection and mentalizing abilities and supernatural beliefs.

Event details of The socio-cognitive foundations of supernatural belief
Date 6 April 2018
Time 13:00 -14:00
Location Aula - Lutherse kerk
Room Location

D.L.R. Maij:  Sensing Supernatural Agency: An Empirical Quest on the Socio-cognitive Foundations of Supernatural Beliefs. 


Prof. E.J. Doosje


Prof. M. van Elk

Aula - Lutherse kerk

Room Location

Singel 411
1012 XM Amsterdam


This event is open to the public.