In Development

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

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

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

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
Patrick McNamara
Brick Johnstone

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

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