Stiff or adaptive? An evolutionary perspective on religious prejudice in intergroup contact
|Year of publication
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|MU Faculty or unit
|The research on the topic of the nature of prejudice began to flourish thanks to the same-named book written by Gordon W. Allport in the 1950s, in which he also introduced the contact hypothesis and defined appropriate conditions that should contribute to changes of prejudice namely to their reduction. Following this delimitation, these conditions began to be investigated in many different domains, including ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity and orientation, and religion. However, the topic of prejudice related to religion remains rather unsystematic and fragmentary. In my perspective, this incompleteness is, among others, supported by the lack of a broader overarching theory, enabling us to ask not only about the nature of prejudice but also other questions: Why do we have prejudices in the first place? Did they evolve throughout human history, and if, how? Are they just a by-product of other essential processes, or do they have their adaptive function? Are there some layers of prejudice that are the same regardless of the specifics of different environments, or are they just culturally learned? In this theoretical paper, I would like to introduce the topic of religious prejudice in the context of the broader evolutionary framework and outline future directions for this research.