Hi, I’m Will Gervais.
Soft-g-silent-s. Jer-Vay. Here’s what I do.
Why do people believe or disbelieve in God(s) and, psychologically speaking, what does that (dis)belief do for them?
Religion is an apparent cross-cultural universal, yet also highly variable across societies and the individuals within them. As an evolutionary and cultural psychologist, I view the scientific study of religion as a core topic in the study of human nature. And, given high degrees of variability in religious belief, I view the scientific study of atheism and nonbelief as central to the scientific study of religion. Broadly, my research seeks to answer three interrelated questions:
What factors that influence and predict degrees of religious belief and disbelief?
What is the perceived relationship between religious (dis)belief and morality?
How prevalent is religious disbelief worldwide?
General Research Philosophy
Science is about not only the topics one studies, but also about how one studies them. I’ve made a deliberate decision to prioritize the empirical quality of my research. To minimize both false positives and false negatives, I employ large samples and powerful designs. To address generalizability, I supplement research from university samples with more diverse and representative samples. Additionally, as a commitment to research transparency, my materials and data for all work are made freely available. I view my continued growth as a researcher as at least as important as any studies I have published.