from month 01/2010

Universal and culture-specific recognition of emotions

Participant watching the experimenter play a stimulus and indicating her response There is an intersting forthcoming open access (available here) article of PNAS entitled "Cross-cultural recognition of basic emotions through nonverbal emotional vocalizations," by Disa Sauter, Frank ...

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Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics. Madrid 2010

The goal of this 4th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication (web site: http://conference.clancorpus.net/) is to promote both theoretical and applied research in pragmatics. Three parallel sessions will be held according to the following topics: Pragmatics ...

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Moscow’s stray dogs

From an article in the Financial Times, fascinating both from an anthropological and a biological point of view: 'According to Poyarkov [a biologist specialising in wolves who also studies these dogs, see picture], there are 30,000 to 35,000 stray dogs in Moscow, while the wolf population for ...

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Four recipes for religion

Shrine at Qixian Monastery, China (photo Harvey Whitehouse)   Over dinner the other evening, it struck me that religion is rather like ratatouille. People disagree about the ingredients of both but in fact there is no such thing as the one true recipe for either. The concepts ...

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Language evolution and universals

Two ambitious papers just published offer broad contrasting views on the biological and cultural bases of human languages: Nicholas Evans, N. , & Stephen Levinson (2009). The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain ...

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Mad in America

Relativity of mental illness has enjoyed the favours of philosophers for decades (Michel Foucault, Ian Hacking and, more recently Geoffrey Llyod in his Cognitive Variations). It has lead to the development of the « new cross-cultural psychiatry », heralded by Kleinman in 1977. ...

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Is there a language instinct?

Chomsky’s theory has played a pivotal role in the cognitive revolution and is often seen as one of the pillar of cognitive sciences. It is therefore quite exciting to see some cognitive scientists attacking such a venerable theory and proposing a radical alternative. That’s exactly what ...

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Na’vi Cognition and Culture

James Cameron's Avatar is about to become the most viewed film in history. While Cameron may deserve this success for his special effects and breathtaking landscapes, Pandora, the world he has created, may seem rather disappointing. It is situated several light-years away from Earth but it ...

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Cognition under the high brow

  High Culture: Da Vinci's Last Supper (as seen in The Da Vinci Code). We cognitive anthropologists deal with “culture” in the broad sense of distributed mental representations widespread in a social group (and many of us don’t really believe that the terms ...

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Body movement in language and cognition

A study by Daniel Haun, published in the December 15th 2009 edition of Current Biology, reports cross-cultural variability in how people memorize bodily movements in space, depending on how space is encoded in the local language. Here is the first paragraph;     There has been ...

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Predation enhances cooperation in wee little birds.

In a recent article entitled "The increased risk of predation enhances cooperation"published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Volume 277, Pages 513 - 518 and available here, Indrikis Krams and colleagues experimentally demonstrate an interaction between predation ...

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Does power increase hypocrisy?

An article entitled "Power Increases Hypocrisy: Moralizing in Reasoning, Immorality in Behavior" by Joris Lammers, Diederik A. Stapel, and Adam D. Galinsky coming out in Psychological Science and available here illustrates how insights into 'power', a notion central in the ...

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