• Room 02.005 - 27 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Cognitive Anthropology of Religion and Ritual - Cognitive Anthropology of Atheism

20072022

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Personal profile

Research Statement

Assistant Director, Institute of Cognition and Culture

DPhil, MSc (Oxford), MA (Missouri), BA (Southeast Missouri State)

Dr. Lanman joined the School in 2012, after working as a Departmental Lecturer (2009-2011) and Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2011-2012) in Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology at The University of British Columbia.

Research Interests

Dr. Lanman's research addresses two main areas in the scientific study of religion.  Across both areas, he aims to integrate theories and methodologies from the social, cognitive, and evolutionary sciences with ethnographic and historical research.  While his geographic area of interest is international, his work has focused on the North Atlantic world and, more recently, Japan.

 

1) Atheism & Secularization

His work on atheism and secularization aims to provide an account of why some individuals become theists and others become non-theists, why some nations have much higher proportions of non-theists than others, and why some non-theists engage in anti-religious social action.  This research engages literature on cognitive biases, existential security, hypocrisy, threat detection, coalitionary psychology, and moral psychology and focuses on the United States, United Kingdom, China, and Japan.

In collaboration with Lois Lee (UCL), Stephen Bullivant (St. Mary's), and Miguel Farias (Coventry), he served as a PI on a John Templeton Funded grant entitled "Understanding Unbelief" (£2.3m, 2017-2020),  a large, international, and interdisciplinary programme of research on unbelief around the world. understanding-unbelief.net

He is currently Programme Lead on the follow up programme Explaining Atheism, which aims to put to the test dozens of popular and academic theories about why some individuals are atheists and why some countries have higher percentages of atheists than others.  https://www.explainingatheism.org/

2) Religious Identity, Ritual, and Self-Sacrifice

Dr. Lanman's  collaborative work on religious identity, ritual, and self-sacrifice aims to provide an account of the nature and catalysts of religious cohesion and the relative contributions of belief, ritual, values, and identity in explaining individual willingness to die for a religious group.  This research engages literature on belief, ritual, memory, identity fusion, psychological kinship, sacred values, and martyrdom and is international with a focus on the United States and Europe. 

In collaboration with Harvey Whitehouse (Oxford), William Swann (Texas), Michael Buhrmester (Oxford/Texas), and others, he has contributed to this research  as part of a £3.2m project funded by the ESRC entitled Ritual, Community, and Conflict (2011-2017). 

 For further detail of Dr. Lanman's research, see his interview in the New Science of Religion series.  

https://youtu.be/4XnCnK7kdf8

Other

Websites

https://qub.academia.edu/JonathanLanman

https://www.explainingatheism.org/

https://research.kent.ac.uk/understandingunbelief/

Other Online Media

  • British Humanist Association & Centre for Inquiry:  "Atheism: The View from Cognitive Science." Lecture given at Conway Hall in 2014. https://youtu.be/YSZCnNjqkEY

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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