In Development

Check out summaries for projects that are coming soon, listed in alphabetical order:

Civilizational Transformation Project

Civilizational Transformation Project

The Civilizational Transformation Project considers immense societal upheavals, delineating and analyzing the conditions that prompt such radical change. The project is a subsidiary of MRP but with its own output, paying particular attention to the way minds and cultures undergo parallel and connected processes of change.

Researchers are looking at moments of revolution and evolution in the structure, values and routines of civilizations in order to learn why such shifts happen and when. They have been tracking the movement from hunter-gatherer societies to domestication to massive military nation-states, from the Axial Age into the Age of Modernity and so forth.

These efforts to understand key moments in the development of the human species will provide a better grasp on humanity’s changing motives for building communities and enable further examination on individuals’ relationship to their society.

Key Personnel

Wesley Wildman
LeRon Shults

Empathy and Cooperation

Empathy and Cooperation Project

The CMAC team is investigating how to expand empathy circles and promote cooperation so as to produce pro-sociality. Using psychological studies, computational models and historical studies, researchers are analyzing what people need to do to form well-functioning societies – ones that can adapt to challenging environments, diffuse ideological and religious conflict and foster inter-group community. Researchers will disseminate findings among policy analysts, conflict-resolution groups and educational ventures in an effort to better understand how to mitigate real conflicts. 

Key Personnel

Jenn Lindsay
LeRon Shults
Wesley Wildman
John Teehan

Immigration

CMAC’s research on immigration is an outgrowth of the insights gained in the MODRN project but with a more specialized focus. To generate greater understanding into the various phases of the immigration process, CMAC is employing massive datasets and computer simulation techniques as well as closely collaborating with immigration experts. Researchers are building computational models that can be calibrated to a specific nation’s and city’s demographics and policy conditions in order to study long-term integration. The result is a playground in which we can virtually experiment with policy, generating insights to help guide policymakers and analysts toward what is most effective for any number of communities. 

Key Personnel

Wesley Wildman
LeRon Shults
Khatera Alizada
Saikou Diallo
Justin Lane



Mass Automated Data Collection & Analysis (MADCAP)

Mass Automated Data Collection & Analysis Project (MADCAP)

For this project, CMAC is building the largest, most flexible, most scalable, most accessible, and most analytically useful collection of data on religious and spiritual experiences (RSEs) ever. RSEs are a vital aspect of human life, giving people their existential bearings and helping people cultivate prized virtues. However, RSEs also have the potential to drive extreme and dangerous religious behaviors, often times disclosing hidden and profoundly ambiguous aspects of our relationship with wider reality.

After synthesizing many different types of data related to RSEs – including digitizing Sir Alister Hardy’s Archives and building longitudinal datasets – CMAC researchers will create a website to collect and hold the massive influx of information. Two different research projects will then investigate and demonstrate the usefulness of the amassed data. After the MADCAP database is established, research teams from around the world will be able to devote renewed consideration to RSEs from every part and period of the cultural life of our species.

Key Personnel

Wesley Wildman
Leslie Francis
Ravi Iyer
Patrick McNamara



Modeling Religious Change

Modeling Religious Change

This project takes seriously all variables of religious change to develop better demographic projects for religious adherence in the future. By utilizing big theory, we’ve developed a comprehensive approach to understanding the role of religion in the modern world. The project breaks methodological barriers by using computer modeling and simulation to study religion and policy in the contemporary world. These are highly generative methods that provide insight into some of the world’s most pressing problems: Where in the world is there potential for religious violence? How do changes in religious adherence impact society and social change? How might the religious make-up of countries and regions alter government policy and international relations? The Modeling Religious Change Project aims to answer these, and other, pressing questions related to public policy.

Key Personnel

Wesley Wildman
Gina Zurlo
Saikou Diallo
LeRon Shults



Neuropsychology and Health

Neuropsychology and Health

CMAC researchers are investigating the brain-based conditions under which people are healthier. By analyzing conceptual models and evaluating relationships among the brain’s affective and cognitive dimensions, we are finding out more about the relationship between such things as spirituality and empathy. Our efforts in this project will help us discern how our minds affect our wellbeing and, therefore, how we might attain wellness from a psychological perspective.

Key Personnel

Wesley Wildman
Brick Johnstone



Religion and Dreams

Religion and Dreams

This project looks at the intricate connections between dreams and the construction of human meanings. CMAC researchers are testing their hypothesis that the cognitive processes that produce supernatural agent cognitions happen naturally in dreams – and therefore that religious consciousness originates in dreams. In this effort to tease out the ways that dreams and religion are entangled, CMAC employs a wide range of techniques, from individual dream narratives to longitudinal dream journals, sleep studies to life histories. CMAC expects the results will shed light on big questions such as the evolutionary origins of religion and the formation of life-guiding conviction and political commitment.

Key Personnel

Patrick McNamara



Sleep and Dreams

Sleep and Dreams

In the far past of our species right up to the present day, dreams and nightmares have been associated with profound meaning. Some dreams seem to convey religious revelations while others express our deepest moral feelings and thoughts. Some people have also cultivated the ability to dream in lucid ways so as to explore the worlds they believe dreaming opens up to them. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of dreams if you haven’t personally experienced their force. In this project, the Center investigates the intricate connections between dreams and nightmares, on the one hand, and the construction of human life meanings, on the other. We employ a wide range of techniques from individual dream narratives to longitudinal dream journals, and from sleep studies to life histories. We aim to tease out the ways dreams and waking life are entangled, which will shed light on big questions such as the evolutionary origins of religion and morality, and the formation of life-guiding conviction and political commitments. 

Key Personnel

Patrick McNamara