Chapter 11. Metarepresentation, <i>Homo religiosus</i>, and <i>Homo symbolicus</i>
What cognitive adaptation enabled humans to become the distinctively symbolic species that we are? Drawing upon insights from the cognitive sciences and evolutionary psychology, research in cognitive science of religion (CSR) converges on the claim that the ability to form mental representations about mental representations (metarepresentation) is a key factor enabling and encouraging religious expression. Such metarepresentation may also be the key to symbolic behaviour – including linguistic expression – more generally. If so, then the same cognitive equipment that underwrites symbolism also gave rise to religion, and the two could have evolved concurrently.