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Religion vs. Health
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3245-0850
2016 (English)In: World Future Guide 2016: The policy report of the Secular Policy Institute, Washington DC, USA: Secular Policy Institute , 2016, 46-55 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Religion may affect personal health in at least two ways. First, religious prescriptions concerning matters such as diet, waste, sexual relationships and social support networks may have actual health consequences. Second, religious healing practices may induce placebo and nocebo responses. Through such mechanisms, religion can result in both positive and negative health effects, depending on prescriptions and rituals involved. Contingent on magnitude, health effects may constitute an underestimated component in understanding the prevalence and persistence of religions in human societies. Health aspects of religion may have become important in human societies through natural selection of susceptibility to placebo responses from religious healing rituals, or through cultural selection of components of religions that involve functioning health advice or that have piggy-backed on practices invoking placebo responses. What exact significance health effects have for understanding the persistence and ubiquity of religions remains to be thoroughly investigated, however.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington DC, USA: Secular Policy Institute , 2016. 46-55 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124298OAI: diva2:883496
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-05-12Bibliographically approved

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Lindenfors, Patrik
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Animal EcologyCentre for the Study of Cultural Evolution

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