Why do religious leaders abstain from some pleasures? In episode 83, Manvir Singh from Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology discusses his research into why shaman healers among the a group of people off the coast of Indonesia observe costly prohibitions, such abstinence or food restrictions, especially given that they could exploit their position for self-serving ends instead. His open-access article “Why do religious leaders observe costly prohibitions? Examining taboos on Mentawai shamans” was co-authored with Joseph Henrich and published on June 11, 2020 in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences.
Websites and other resources
- Video documentary of a Mentawai wedding ceremony:
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Hosts / Producers
Ryan Watkins & Doug Leigh
How to Cite
What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers