I am interested in religious and scientific reasoning. In particular, I explore:
a. the content of automatic intuitions and everyday reasoning about environment and their role in the cultural transmission of knowledge,
b. various forms of agentive reasoning about nature and their effects on scientific understanding of natural processes, and
c. possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars in both humanities and science that allow developing studies that better take into account both historical, cultural, social and cognitive aspects in people’s explicit and implicit views about science and religion, and about themselves and others.
My research combines the study of religion, perspectives from cognitive and developmental psychology, and quantitative and experimental methods that are commonly used in social and cognitive psychology.
My background is originally in humanities in the study of religion. I started studying religious reasoning because I had always been intrigued by the question: “Why do people form ideas of supernatural beings in the first place?” Because I was interested in this viewpoint of basic information processing, I very quickly found myself studying religious reasoning in the cognitive framework introduced to the University of Helsinki, Finland, by Dr. Ilkka Pyysiäinen.
Being interested in the origin of things overall, I guess now afterwards it seems only fitting that I started assessing people’s reasoning about the origin of nature and creation beliefs in particular. I wanted to better understand the role that automatic cognitive tendencies play in acceptance (or rejection) of both religious and scientific reasoning about nature.
In the beginning of my PhD studies in Helsinki I realized that in order to test my ideas empirically I needed to learn experimental methodology. First, I took part in a methodological workshop organized by “Cognition, Religion and Theology” project in Oxford University, UK. Subsequently, I became a visiting PhD student and postdoctoral researcher at Dr. Deborah Kelemen’s Child Cognition Lab at Boston University, USA. During my years in Boston I learned to conduct interdisciplinary research in practice.