How Religion is Debugged Spiritual Technology

How Religion is Debugged Spiritual Technology

Scientists are beginning to discover what believers have known for a long time: the rewards that a religious life can provide. For millennia, people have turned to priests and rabbis, imams, and shamans to help them deal with issues of grief and loss, birth and death, morality and meaning. In his absorbing book How God Works, renowned research psychologist David DeSteno reveals how numerous religious practices from around the world improve emotional and physical health.

David DeSteno is a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, where he directs the Social Emotions Group. At the broadest level, his work examines the mechanisms of the mind that shape vice and virtue. Studying hypocrisy and compassion, pride and punishment, cheating and trust, his work continually reveals that human moral behavior is much more variable than most would predict. David is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association, for which he served as editor-in-chief of the journal Emotion. David received his PhD in psychology from Yale University.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. This Q&A with Dr. DeSteno was held at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD on May 21, 2023).

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Bat mitzvah photo by Frances Gaul Photography

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