Modeling the Effect of Religion on Human Empathy Based on an Adaptive Temporal-Causal Network Model

L.I. van Ments, P.H.M.P. Roelofsma, J. Treur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Religion is a central aspect of many individuals’ lives around the world, and its influence on human behaviour has been extensively studied from many different perspectives. The current study integrates a number of these perspectives into one adaptive temporal-causal network model describing the mental states involved, their mutual relations, and the adaptation of some of these relations over time due to learning. By first developing a conceptual representation of a network model based on literature, and then formalizing this model into a numerical representation, simulations can be done for almost any kind of religion and person, showing different behaviours for persons with different religious backgrounds and characters. The focus was mainly on the influence of religion on human empathy and disempathy, a topic very relevant today. The developed model could be valuable for many uses, involving support for a better understanding, and even prediction, of the behaviour of religious individuals. It is illustrated for a number of different scenarios based on different characteristics of the persons and of the religion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalComputational Social Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018


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