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Ara Norenzayan

Ara Norenzayan

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Ara Norenzayan is a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His areas of research interest focus on culture and cognition, issues of cultural variability and universality, cultural evolution, religious cognition, and the psychology of widespread beliefs. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1999, where he did interdisciplinary graduate work in the Culture and Cognition Program of the Anthropology and Psychology Departments. Prior to his appointment at UBC, Dr. Norenzayan was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre de Recherche en Epistemologie Appliquee (CREA), Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, after which he served on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2002, he became Faculty Associate of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies in Vancouver, Canada. He is Associate Professor of Psychology at UBC since 2007.

Primary Interests:

  • Causal Attribution
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Atran, S., & Norenzayan, A. (2004). Religion's evolutionary landscape: Counterintuition, commitment, compassion, communion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 713-770.
  • Norenzayan, A., Atran, S., Faulkner, J., & Schaller, M. (2006). Memory and mystery: The cultural selection of minimally counterintuitive narratives. Cognitive Science, 30, 531-553
  • Norenzayan, A., & Hansen, I. G. (2006). Belief in supernatural agents in the face of death. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 174-187.
  • Norenzayan, A., & Heine, S. J. (2005). Psychological universals: What are they and how can we know? Psychological Bulletin, 135, 763-784.
  • Norenzayan, A., & Shariff, A. F. (2008). The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science, 322, 58-62 .
  • Norenzayan, A., Smith, E. E., & Kim, B., & Nisbett, R. E. (2002). Cultural preferences for formal versus intuitive reasoning. Cognitive Science, 26, 653-684.
  • Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2007). God is watching you: Priming God concepts increases prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game. Psychological Science, 18, 803-809.

Courses Taught:

  • Cultural Psychology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Psychology of Religion
  • Social Psychology

Ara Norenzayan
Department of Psychology
2136 West Mall
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4

  • Phone: (604) 827-5134
  • Fax: (604) 822-6923

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