↓ Skip to main content

PNAS

Article Metrics

The ecology of religious beliefs

Overview of attention for article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, November 2014
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (97th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
13 news outlets
blogs
15 blogs
twitter
192 tweeters
weibo
2 weibo users
facebook
36 Facebook pages
wikipedia
2 Wikipedia pages
googleplus
11 Google+ users
reddit
2 Redditors

Citations

dimensions_citation
53 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
408 Mendeley
citeulike
2 CiteULike
Title
The ecology of religious beliefs
Published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, November 2014
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1408701111
Pubmed ID
Authors

Carlos A. Botero, Beth Gardner, Kathryn R. Kirby, Joseph Bulbulia, Michael C. Gavin, Russell D. Gray

Abstract

Although ecological forces are known to shape the expression of sociality across a broad range of biological taxa, their role in shaping human behavior is currently disputed. Both comparative and experimental evidence indicate that beliefs in moralizing high gods promote cooperation among humans, a behavioral attribute known to correlate with environmental harshness in nonhuman animals. Here we combine fine-grained bioclimatic data with the latest statistical tools from ecology and the social sciences to evaluate the potential effects of environmental forces, language history, and culture on the global distribution of belief in moralizing high gods (n = 583 societies). After simultaneously accounting for potential nonindependence among societies because of shared ancestry and cultural diffusion, we find that these beliefs are more prevalent among societies that inhabit poorer environments and are more prone to ecological duress. In addition, we find that these beliefs are more likely in politically complex societies that recognize rights to movable property. Overall, our multimodel inference approach predicts the global distribution of beliefs in moralizing high gods with an accuracy of 91%, and estimates the relative importance of different potential mechanisms by which this spatial pattern may have arisen. The emerging picture is neither one of pure cultural transmission nor of simple ecological determinism, but rather a complex mixture of social, cultural, and environmental influences. Our methods and findings provide a blueprint for how the increasing wealth of ecological, linguistic, and historical data can be leveraged to understand the forces that have shaped the behavior of our own species.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 192 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 408 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 11 3%
United Kingdom 11 3%
Germany 6 1%
Canada 4 <1%
France 3 <1%
Brazil 3 <1%
Finland 2 <1%
Italy 2 <1%
Portugal 2 <1%
Other 20 5%
Unknown 344 84%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 108 26%
Researcher 84 21%
Student > Master 47 12%
Professor 36 9%
Student > Bachelor 30 7%
Other 103 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 152 37%
Environmental Science 45 11%
Psychology 43 11%
Social Sciences 40 10%
Unspecified 38 9%
Other 90 22%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 347. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 23 January 2019.
All research outputs
#28,140
of 12,439,600 outputs
Outputs from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#734
of 77,696 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#512
of 232,346 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#20
of 940 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,439,600 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 77,696 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 22.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 232,346 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 940 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.