The bio-cultural, cognitive, and evolutionary sciences of religion comprise a growing interdisciplinary field.   The following is a list of important publications in this and related fields that are especially relevant for computer modeling and simulation in the study of religion.


Bainbridge, W. S. (2006). God from the Machine: Artificial Intelligence Models of Religious Cognition. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Grimm, V., & Railsback, S. F. (2005). Individual-based Modeling and Ecology. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Epstein, J. M. (1997). Nonlinear Dynamics, Mathematical Biology, And Social Science: Wise Use Of Alternative Therapies. Reading, Mass: Westview Press.

Epstein, J. M. (2006). Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Epstein, J. M. (2014). Agent_Zero: Toward Neurocognitive Foundations for Generative Social Science. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Epstein, J. M., & Axtell, R. L. (1996). Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science From the Bottom Up (1St Edition edition). Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press & MIT Press.

Watts, F., & Turner, L. P. (2014). Evolution, Religion, and Cognitive Science: Critical and Constructive Essays. OUP Oxford.


Abdollahian, M., & Kang, K. (2008). In Search of Structure: The Nonlinear Dynamics of Power Transitions. International Interactions, 34(4), 333–357.

Abdollahian, M., Yang, Z., Coan, T., & Yesilada, B. (2013). Human development dynamics: an agent based simulation of macro social systems and individual heterogeneous evolutionary games. Complex Adaptive Systems Modeling, 1(1), 18.

Axelrod, R. (1997). The Dissemination of Culture: A Model with Local Convergence and Global Polarization. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 41(2), 203–226.

Axtell, R. L., Epstein, J. M., Dean, J. S., Gumerman, G. J., Swedlund, A. C., Harburger, J., … Parker, M. (2002). Population growth and collapse in a multiagent model of the Kayenta Anasazi in Long House Valley. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(suppl 3), 7275–7279.

Baumard, N., & Chevallier, C. (2015). The nature and dynamics of world religions: a life-history approach. Proc. R. Soc. B, 282(1818), 20151593.

Butzer, K. W. (2012). Collapse, environment, and society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(10), 3632–3639.

Conte, R., & Paolucci, M. (2014). On agent-based modeling and computational social science. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 5, 668.

Crabtree, S. A., & Kohler, T. A. (2012). Modelling across millennia: Interdisciplinary paths to ancient socio-ecological systems. Ecological Modelling, 241, 2–4.

Doran, J. (28-Dec-97). Simulating Collective Misbelief. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 1(1).

Fehr, E., & Fischbacher, U. (2004). Social norms and human cooperation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(4), 185–190.

Graves, D. (2011). The use of predictive modelling to target Neolithic settlement and occupation activity in mainland Scotland. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(3), 633–656.

Inglehart, R., & Baker, W. E. (2000). Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values. American Sociological Review, 65(1), 19.

Kohler, T. A., Bocinsky, R. K., Cockburn, D., Crabtree, S. A., Varien, M. D., Kolm, K. E., … Kobti, Z. (2012). Modelling prehispanic Pueblo societies in their ecosystems. Ecological Modelling, 241, 30–41.

Madey, C. N. and G., & Madley, G. (2009). Tools of the Trade: A Survey of Various Agent Based Modeling Platforms. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 12(2).

Metzler, T. (2001). Can Agent-Based Simulation Improve Dialogue between Science and Theology?  Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 5(1).

Murphy, J. T. (2012). Exploring complexity with the Hohokam Water Management Simulation: A middle way for archaeological modeling. Ecological Modelling, 241, 15–29.

Neyapti, B. (2013). Modeling institutional evolution. Economic Systems, 37(1), 1–16.

Nielbo, K. L., Braxton, D. M., & Upal, A. (2012). Computing Religion: A New Tool in the Multilevel Analysis of Religion. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 24(3), 267–290.

Nielbo, K. L., & Sørensen, J. (2015). Attentional resource allocation and cultural modulation in a computational model of ritualized behavior. Religion, Brain & Behavior.

Parker, D. C., Hessl, A., & Davis, S. C. (2008). Complexity, land-use modeling, and the human dimension: Fundamental challenges for mapping unknown outcome spaces. Geoforum, 39(2), 789–804.

Pecora, L. M., & Carroll, T. L. (1990). Synchronization in chaotic systems. Physical Review Letters, 64(8), 821–824.

Powers, S. T., & Lehmann, L. (2013). The co-evolution of social institutions, demography, and large-scale human cooperation. Ecology Letters, 16(11), 1356–1364.

Powers, S. T., & Lehmann, L. (2014). An evolutionary model explaining the Neolithic transition from egalitarianism to leadership and despotism. Proc. R. Soc. B, 281(1791), 20141349.

Rodrik, D. (1998). Globalisation, Social Conflict and Economic Growth. The World Economy, 21(2), 143–158.

Rogers, J. D., Nichols, T., Emmerich, T., Latek, M., & Cioffi-Revilla, C. (2012). Modeling scale and variability in human–environmental interactions in Inner Asia. Ecological Modelling, 241, 5–14.

Roitto, R. (2015). Dangerous but contagious altruism: recruitment of group members and reform of cooperation style through altruism in two modified versions of Hammond and Axelrod’s simulation of ethnocentric cooperation. Religion, Brain & Behavior.

Sala-i-Martin, X. X. (1996). Regional cohesion: evidence and theories of regional growth and convergence. European Economic Review, 40(6), 1325–1352.

Sigmund, K., & Nowak, M. A. (1999). Evolutionary game theory. Current Biology, 9(14), R503–R505.

Tremlin, T. (2002). A Theory of Religious Modulation: Reconciling Religious Modes and Ritual Arrangements. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 2(4), 309–348.

Trenholme, R. (1994). Analog Simulation. Philosophy of Science, 61(1), 115–131.

Upal, M. A. (2005). Simulating the Emergence of New Religious Movements.  Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 8.

Whitehouse, H., Kahn, K., Hochberg, M. E., & Bryson, J. J. (2012). The role for simulations in theory construction for the social sciences: case studies concerning Divergent Modes of Religiosity. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 2(3), 182–224.

Wildman, W. J., & Sosis, R. (2011). Stability of Groups with Costly Beliefs and Practices. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 14(3).

Yang, Y.-H., Bhikshu, H., & Tsaih, R.-H. (2015). The Power of One Sentient Being: The Computer Simulation of a Bodhisattva’s Altruism Using Agent-based Modelling. Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal.