from month 08/2009

How much of a difference does culture make ?

In my latest post, I mentioned a very nice study that looked at differences in face-processing between East Asians and Westerners. Though it made a couple of fascinating points, the study also claimed that Asian culture strongly hindered Asians from understanding Western emotions. In fact, their ...

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Japanese smileys vs. Ekman faces

Some medias and the blogosphere (see here, here and here) are celebrating a new study published in Current Biology, allegedly showing that recognition of facial expressions is not universal. Psychological universalists and relativists never seem to get tired of chewing that old bone of conten...

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How cultural is cultural epidemiology? 2- Cultural embedding

This is the second part of Christophe's series of posts on what culture does to culture (the first post is here). Most cultural phenomena are embedded in other cultural phenomena. For one thing, any cultural phenomenon takes place within a community that already has many traditions, cultural ...

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Meaning in sounds?

Disclaimer: I'm venturing far, far, from my domain of expertise, supposing I even have such a thing. I know nothing about psycholinguistics (i.e., I need to be reminded on a regular basis about the difference between a phoneme and a morpheme). Please feel free to point out the inevitable ...

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Linguistic Epidemiology – Part 1, Units of analysis

In his insightful post ‘Is language a replicator?’ (June 1, 2009), Nicolas Claidière usefully critiques a recent review article by Mark Pagel on evolutionary approaches to language change (Nature Reviews Genetics Vol. 10, June 2009). Pagel’s paper (and Nicolas’s ...

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Universals in turn-taking in conversation – PNAS paper

This is to announce a recent publication in PNAS under the 'anthropology' rubric, titled 'Universals and cultural variation in turn-taking in conversation', by Tanya Stivers et al (online June 24, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903616106; print PNAS June 30, 2009 vol. 106 no. 26 10587-1...

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Encultured Brain conference 8 Oct. 2009 at the U. of Notre Dame

The Encultured Brain conference will be held 8 October 2009 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. This conference will promote neuroanthropology, which aims to integrate anthropology, social theory, and the brain sciences. As the first conference exclusively in this area, The ...

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How cultural is cultural epidemiology – 2? The case of cultural embedding

Most cultural phenomena are embedded in other cultural phenomena. For one thing, any cultural phenomenon takes place within a community that already has many traditions, cultural practices, rituals and beliefs of its own. The important point, however, is that embedding cultural phenomena are likely ...

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Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller's new book Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior (Viking, New York, 384 pages) has stirred a contoversy that we have already blogged about here. Dylan Evans has just reviewed the book in The Guardian. From his review: "Miller argues that ...

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Scylla and Charybdis

Some of the most enduring kinds of cultural traditions have been interpretive in nature. My research has focused on the interaction of cognition and culture surrounding the Christian Bible, but in this series I am explore a broader general model of interpretive traditions. This is the fifth and ...

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Repeated learning makes cultural evolution unique

To appear in PNAS (available with subscription here), a critique of close analogies between biological and cultural evolution : "Repeated learning makes cultural evolution unique" by Pontus Strimling, Magnus Enquist, and Kimmo Eriksson from the Centre for the Study of Cultural ...

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Nicola Knight Memorial Page

(from Brian Malley) Maria Doglioli and I have now completed a webpage honoring Nicola Knight.  The page contains most of Nicola's published writing, a bio, a link to his blog entries on this site, and Nicola's short discussion of his name.  The ...

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