The development and diversity of religious cognition and behavior: Protocol for Wave 1 data collection with children and parents by the Developing Belief Network

Kara Weisman, Maliki E. Ghossainy, Allison J. Williams, Ayse Payir, Kirsten A. Lesage, Bolivar Reyes-Jaquez, Tamer G. Amin, Florencia K. Anggoro, Emily R.R. Burdett, Eva E. Chen, Lezanie Coetzee, John D. Coley, Audun Dahl, Jocelyn B. Dautel, Helen Elizabeth Davis, Elizabeth L. Davis, Gil Diesendruck, Denise Evans, Aidan Feeney, Michael GurvenBenjamin D. Jee, Hannah J. Kramer, Tamar Kushnir, Natassa Kyriakopoulou, Katherine McAuliffe, Abby McLaughlin, Shaun Nichols, Ageliki Nicolopoulou, Peter C. Rockers, Laura Shneidman, Irini Skopeliti, Mahesh Srinivasan, Amanda R. Tarullo, Laura K. Taylor, Yue Yu, Meltem Yucel, Xin Zhao, Kathleen H. Corriveau, Rebekah A. Richert, Stav Bar-Maoz, Yen Ping Chang, Emily Chau, Cornelio Chay Cano, Meng Ting Chen, Jana Chokor, Yuan Yuan Chung, Flora Cohen, Kelly Yixin Cui, Marissa Dalton, Adi Danan, Adine DeLeon, Stephanie Farah, Julia Ganama, Lorena Garza, Isabelle Harden, Grace Horton, Hua Chien Hsu, Harry Huang, Mei Hui Huang, Jallene Jia En Chua, Chuan Han Kao, Hea Jung Lee, Patricia Leshabana, Jacky Lin, Vongani Maluleke, Adva Maman, Ashley Marin, Carole Meyer Rieth, Theodora Reiter, Angelique Ricard, Jessa Stegall, Joanna Stephens, Lucy Stone, Carrie Jiayue Sun, Esra Turan Kucuk, Dilara Turut, Belief Network Developing Belief Network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Developing Belief Network is a consortium of researchers studying human development in diverse social-cultural settings, with a focus on the interplay between general cognitive development and culturally specific processes of socialization and cultural transmission in early and middle childhood. The current manuscript describes the study protocol for the network s first wave of data collection, which aims to explore the development and diversity of religious cognition and behavior. This work is guided by three key research questions: (1) How do children represent and reason about religious and supernatural agents? (2) How do children represent and reason about religion as an aspect of social identity? (3) How are religious and supernatural beliefs transmitted within and between generations? The protocol is designed to address these questions via a set of nine tasks for children between the ages of 4 and 10 years, a comprehensive survey completed by their parents/caregivers, and a task designed to elicit conversations between children and caregivers. This study is being conducted in 39 distinct cultural-religious groups (to date), spanning 17 countries and 13 languages. In this manuscript, we provide detailed descriptions of all elements of this study protocol, give a brief overview of the ways in which this protocol has been adapted for use in diverse religious communities, and present the final, English-language study materials for 6 of the 39 cultural-religious groups who are currently being recruited for this study: Protestant Americans, Catholic Americans, American members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, and religiously unaffiliated Americans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0292755
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2024

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© 2024 Weisman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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