Archive for ‘Meta’

June 6, 2011

Foreign Ideas & Moral Indigestion

Welcome to anyone coming from Genealogy of Religion! I hope you enjoy what you find here. It’s not much, yet — I’ve just started! — but more is coming soon. Of course, if you don’t like what you see, feel free to let me know; it will only help me improve as a blogger!

For anyone who is coming to ATOM from anywhere else, Cris, the blogger behind Genealogy of Religion (an awesome religion science blog; you must check it out), came upon my blog a few days ago and was extraordinarily kind in offering to introduce me and have me do a guest post. I decided to write about some new research from my own lab on disgust at ideas. Here’s a teaser:

Imagine you are dining at a friend’s home. Your host is excited because she has prepared a special dish for you. When dinner is finally served, you are surprised to see a whole egg on your plate and when you open the egg, you are even more surprised to see this . . .

To find out what’s on your plate and what that might have to do with religion, you’ll need to read the whole post over at Genealogy of Religion!

June 1, 2011

By Golly, I’ve Begun a Blog!

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.

One of my cats. Likes to attack things on the internet.

One of my cats. Likes to attack things on the internet.

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.