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Current PhD fellows

Lauritz Holm Petersen, PhD fellow, School of Culture and Society, Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark

Lauritz has a background in the study of religion and cognitive semiotics. He is interested in the interplay between human actions, narratives, and cognition. In his PhD.-project, he investigates how eschatological narratives are utilized in processes of meaning-making and group formation, and how such narratives might drive human collective behaviors. To this end, he uses user-generated data from a series of online communities, as well as various computational methods. As a former research assistant, Lauritz has worked with recreational fear in the context of danish childcare institutions in cooperation with the Recreational Fear Lab, Aarhus University.


Anne Lundahl Mauritsen, PhD fellow, School of Culture and Society, Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark

Anne has an academic background in the Study of Religion. She is currently undertaking the joint Queen´s University Belfast/ Aarhus University PhD in the Cognitive Science of Religion. Her PhD project investigates the phenomenon of nonreligion from cognitive, psychological and sociological perspectives in a Danish context utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. She hypothesises that nonreligion as a concept can cover different phenomena and by employing a broad, explorative definition undergirded by a strong theorising from both CSR and sociology of religion, the she will be able to analyse in depth how modern, nonreligious Danes form their worldviews, models of meaning and identities    


Theiss Bendixen, PhD fellow, School of Culture and Society, Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark

Theiss is a psychologist with special interests in evolutionary perspectives on human thinking and behavior. His PhD project aims to explain why gods' concerns and interests - particularly in the moral domain - vary across cultures. This broad question will be sought answered using a large cross-cultural dataset and a separate economic game experiment. Theiss' project will shed light on how religions evolved to serve social adaptive functions and how religions may have played an important role in the evolutionary history of the human species.


Mathilde Hernu, PhD fellow, School of Culture and Society, Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark 

Mathilde obtained a BA in Psychology and a MA in Social Psychology at Paris 8 University, France. She worked as a research assistant and coordinator for large human trials at Oxford University and Coventry University, UK. Presently, she is pursuing the joint PhD in the Cognitive Science of Religion sponsored by Queen’s University, Belfast and Aarhus University. Her topic of research is the coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations. The aim is to examine the extent to which these different explanations can be invoked by the same individual to explain events or states located in space and time such as misfortunes, life threatening illnesses and natural catastrophes. She hypothesises that the motivations and mechanisms underpinning this phenomenon relate to a psychological need for control and to an understanding of causal links in terms of morality.