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Execution, violent punishment and selection for religiousness in medieval England
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5366-1169
2018 (English)In: Evolutionary Psychological Science, E-ISSN 2198-9885, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 83-89Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Frost and Harpending, Evolutionary Psychology, 13 (2015), have argued that the increasing use of capital punishment across the Middle Ages in Europe altered the genotype, helping to create a less violent and generally more law-abiding population. Developing this insight, we hypothesise that the same system of violent punishments would also have helped to genotypically create a more religious society by indirectly selecting for religiousness, through the execution of men who had not yet sired any offspring. We estimate the selection differential for religiousness based on genetic correlation data for conceivably related traits, and compare that to the actual increase in religiosity across the Middle Ages. We further explore other mechanisms by which religiousness was being selected for in Medieval England, and conclude that executions most likely contributed substantially to the increase in religiosity, but that other selection pressures also played a role.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 4, no 1, p. 83-89
Keywords [en]
Religion, Selection, Execution, Medieval
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142891DOI: 10.1007/s40806-017-0115-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-142891DiVA, id: diva2:1165306
Available from: 2017-12-13 Created: 2017-12-13 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Madison, Guy

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