CMAC achieves impact by employing ground-breaking techniques. We have grouped our projects according to their predominant methods so as to clearly convey our research aims and how we attain those results.
In each of these categories, we deploy technology, grapple with complexity and incorporate all forms of the relevant expertise in a constant effort to better understand minds and cultures and to better inform the decisions we make in their nexus.
Modeling Social Systems
The Extremist Violence Project is developing new methods for ascertaining and anticipating the sources and dynamics of extremist violence by employing psychological, anthropological, social, and economic analyses, big-data sources, statistical modeling, and computer simulation to study the complexities of radicalization, religious violence, and terrorism.
Modeling Religious Change engages demographic analysis and forecasting, along with complex artificial societies for a detailed understanding of religious and nonreligious identity and change that takes into account behaviors such as religious switching, secularization, immigration, religious beliefs and practices.
The Modeling Religion Project creates comparable versions of theories that can be rigorously tested against real-world data and the historical record by using agent-based and system-dynamics models to examine processes of group formation, religious leadership, extremism and violence, terror management, ritual patterns, and more.
Modeling Religion in Norway engineers creative computer simulations of religious and social dynamics in Norway and other countries that will not only allow us to understand the factors that gradually lead to conflict, but also test out suggestions to circumvent it before it begins.
Strategies Against Rural Suicide aims to build a computational model, incorporating psychological autopsy data along with the insights and expertise of local service providers and policy professionals to improve suicide prevention efforts, particularly in rural settings.
Tools Against Child Trafficking combines big data mining to measure, observe, and learn about trafficking in the real world, network analysis to identify intervention points, modeling and simulation to test the long-term consequences of different policies, and visualization of the child trafficking market system, which will help the public learn about this complex problem in an intuitive way.
The Values in Viral Dispersion project uses artificial simulations to test policy options and human behaviors in the COVID-19 pandemic, such as compliance with physical distancing, social networks, and trust in public health officials. In addition to generating valuable insights into likely policy outcomes, the project aims to educate policy professionals and the public about computational simulation, helping them become more sophisticated consumers of information derived from pandemic-related models.
Engaging Virtual Environments
ASPECT Hub uses sophisticated language-based devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home as a personalized educational tool to help children with varying proficiencies to work on verbal and echoic skills.
Spirit Tech looks at brain-based technologies, including the contemporary manifestations of the use of psychedelic substances for spiritual growth, neurofeedback-guided meditation practices, transcranial magnetic stimulation applied toward the development of paranormal skills, church services held in virtual reality, and even technology for brain-to-brain communication that may enable groups to drum up a high degree of collective fervor more efficiently. But these exciting developments are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of spirit tech.
Teaching Modeling and Simulation in the Humanities strives to make modeling and simulation more widely available to scholars in humanities disciplines by integrating computer simulations that express their theories.
viaSTEM aims to rectify the inequalities minority students face in receiving a meaningful STEM education by giving students the chance to experience STEM through simulation.
Virtual Reality for Nightmare Disorder creatively uses VR to help those with Nightmare Disorder condition their brains, gaining greater control over visual imagery, they are then use those skills to dispel their nightmares.
Quantifying Identities and Ideologies
Black Maternal Mortality aims to collect qualitative and quantitative data related to the public-health crisis reflected in Black maternal mortality rates in the U.S., and ultimately suggest practical ways to mitigate the problem through computational simulation and policy analysis.
The Cognitive Styles and Religious Attitudes Project gathers research data through online surveys at ExploringMyReligion.org that include different cognitive tests for analytical and holistic reasoning, demographic information and religious affiliation, and questions about different layers of religious ideology and orthodoxy.
The Dimensions of Spirituality Inventory uses a new survey instrument to help researchers examine the wider landscape of spirituality and better understand the ways people find and construct meaning and spiritual outlooks on life.
The Hardy Religious and Spiritual Experience Project creates a sophisticated database on existing religious and spiritual experiences narratives compiled in the Alister Hardy Database and builds a friendly interface for collecting new stories and data through devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Religious Language inspects a number of secular and religious rituals, as well as sacred and non-sacred texts, to understand how people contemplate and showcase their religious behavior and how speech acts differ to pinpoint the unique differences that set religious communication apart.
Sex Differences develops new methods to update the conversation and explore new theories of sex differences and religion by drawing upon pre-existing research that indicates people of different genders differ in both their levels of religiosity and the types of religious experiences they have.
Spectrums approaches the questions of political and religious differences by combining a deep dive into social-psychology research literature with quantitative tools that provide a detailed image of personal ideology.
The Unbelief Project is working to produce a stable understanding of unbelief by building a framework for classification and by developing a multi-dimensional measuring instrument. By combining data at many levels of complexity, researchers at CMAC will use new datasets to render the understanding of unbelief sensitive to a number of diverse variables, thus expanding the foundation for studies on unbelief and opening up a new realm of research.
Charting Academic Landscapes
The Epigenetics Project brings philosophers, ethicists, theologians, and others into a conversation to critically examine the potential of epigenetics to shed light on the human condition and our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Field Mapping uses advanced data analytics and social network approaches to reveal the underlying structure of research on religion that analyzes and investigates the variation in research trends across time and space, answering the questions about who, where, how, and why the scientific study of religion is being pursued across the globe.
PhilosophyofReligion.org is a public forum for leading scholars to answer central, field-defining questions in a space outside the strictures of more formal publications and presentations, creating data that can be systemically analyzed to discover what underlying factors are driving broad disagreements within the field and offer guidance for the future of philosophy of religion in the academy.
Synthesizing Empirical Findings and Theory in the Scientific Study of Religion (SEFT) helps scientists and researchers in the scientific study of religion collaborate to build on and expand research in a rapidly growing field. This effort will combat redundancy and lack of integration, allowing for more a more progressive, incremental, and productive science of religion.