Welcome to A Theory of Mind.
A bit about the blogger: I am Erika Salomon, a graduate student in social psychology at the University of Illinois. Before starting my current program, I studied English as an undergraduate, worked as a tutor and education research assistant, and earned a master’s degree in cognition and culture. My current academic work focuses on how people think about religious ideas and how this influences belief and behavior. I chose to study religion because it is one of the most important and interesting human activities and because it interacts with other important domains of human life, such as morality, politics, and social relationships. Thus, research on religion is often relevant to much more of our social world than “just” religion.
Another bit about the blog: It’s hard to predict right now exactly what will happen on this blog, so I won’t promise an update schedule or list of topics. These will likely change anyway, depending on my own interests and those of anyone who reads this thing (what we English majors call “the audience”–but that sounds way too presumptuous to describe the three people who will read my blog [me, my husband, and maybe one of my cats]). That said, I intend to write mostly about the science of religion for non-scientist readers. This might include summaries of psychological research on how people behave when they think God is watching them, anthropological work on local religious traditions, demographic research on which religions have the most babies, or any number of other topics. Of course, “religion” is hard to isolate from all of the other things we humans do, so these posts will be accompanied by commentary on how all of this academic work helps us understand everyday social interaction. I also hope to apply scientific research to understanding current events (like the recent Rapture that didn’t happen).
I hope you enjoy reading along–aw heck, really, I just hope you read at all… or that anyone does for that matter! Feedback of all kinds (including compliments, suggestions for topics, and even angry rants) is welcomed and encouraged.