from month 07/2009

How cultural is cultural epidemiology? The case of enculturation

When discussing about cultural epidemiology with informed colleagues, I often come to think that they tend to underplay the extent to which cultural epidemiological accounts can integrate enculturation and other cultural phenomena that are generative of culture. Here is a key claim of cultural ...

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Is deductive inference embedded in language?

Forthcoming in PNAS: "The boundaries of language and thought in deductive inference" by Martin M. Monti, Lawrence M. Parsons and Daniel N. Osherson By way of introduction, here is how Martin Monti (who is a post-doc at  the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Medical ...

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Online videos of the 2007 CEU summer school on culture and cognition

In July 2007, we had a great summer schoool on culture and cognition at the Central European University in Budapest organised by György Gergely and Dan Sperber. The proceeding were video-recorded and many of the lectures (by Rita Astuti, Pascal Boyer, Susan Carey, Gergely Csibra, Dan Fessler, ...

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A role for dyslexia in language evolution?

In a new paper Gabrieli highlight the recent results of cognitive neuroscience research on dyslexia and its potentdiial consequences for the treatment of dyslexic children through educative measures. What Gabrieli show is that dyslexia, an impairement in reading abilities linked to difficulties ...

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Common Ground and Cultural Prominence

An interesting article in the last issue of Psychological Science shows that cultural prominence can be sustained by the need to establish common ground in conversation. Here's the abstract: Why do well-known ideas, practices, and people maintain their cultural prominence in the presence ...

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The evolution of cooperative turn-taking

On July 1, we signalled a PNAS article on "Universals and cultural variation in turn-taking in conversation" from the Language and Cognition Group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (see here). Today we present a press release from the University of Leicester looking at turn-ta...

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Simian Oeconomicus

Economics is usually thought of as a specifically human science. However, there are no reasons to restrict its application to humans. After all, animals have goals and preferences exactly like humans. And exactly like humans, they face the sad reality that resources are scarse (be it sex, power or ...

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The Evolution of God?

Robert Wright has written a new book, much in the tradition of his previous, and famous, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny : The Evolution of God . His main goal is to argue that as religious creeds change though time, they tend to be increasingly inclusive in their moral scope, either that ...

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Why you should rank your friends (but not tell them)

Like me, you must sometimes receive these « rank your friends » messages through your social network. It starts by saying how high you have been ranked in someone’s best friends list, and thereby invites you to return the compliment. It seems like crude ranking and ...

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Social Interaction and Geographical Distance in the Internet Era

An interesting paper deposited ar ArXiv.org by Jacob Goldenberg and Moshe Levy from the The Hebrew University, Jerusalem: "Distance Is Not Dead: Social Interaction and Geographical Distance in the Internet Era" Abstract: The Internet revolution has made long-dista...

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In praise of neuroscience (for once)

Here, at ICCI, we are used to being skeptical about the contributions of neurosciences to the understanding of culture (see the posts on reading and religion, or Mixing Memories's post on colour categorisation). Indeed, very often, neuroscientific studies of cultural phenomena do not do more ...

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Universals and cultural variation in turn-taking in conversation

From the Language and Cognition Group, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen: Stivers, T., Enfield, N. J., Brown, P., Englert, C., Hayashi, M., Heinemann, T., Gertie Hoymann, Federico Rossano, Jan Peter de Ruiter, Kyung-Eun Yoon and Stephen C. Levinson  (2009). ...

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