Charismatic Signalling


  • Joseph Bulbulia Victoria University of Wellington



affordance, automaticity, convention, culture, evolution, mirroring, morality, priming, religion, signaling, synchrony, stag hunt, Theory of Mind


The following describes an evolutionary model for religious cooperation called “synchronous-signaling.” The core motivation for synchronous signaling comes from an appreciation that large-scale cooperation requires a widespread predictability in the cooperative responses of anonymous cohort. The model is based on evidence that elements of religious culture - including its music, dance, postures, prayers, and other regimes – reliably automate cooperation. This automation aligns affective, motivational, and intentional dispositions of anonymous exchange partners toward common cooperative goals. The model also explains why old religions are especially effective at securing cooperative outcomes, among unfamiliar partners.

Author Biography

Joseph Bulbulia, Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington


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How to Cite

Bulbulia, J. (2010). Charismatic Signalling. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 3(4), 518–551.