from month 06/2010

PhD position in Comparative Cognitive Anthropology

A Research position for a Ph.D. student is available in the research group ‘Comparative Cognitive Anthropology’ at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, NL). The successful applicant will be expected to investigate social emotions (e.g., shame, pride, fear of ...

Read More

The sacredness of God

One of the difficulties I run into in expounding Pascal Boyer's theory of the minimal counterintuitiveness of religious concepts ("MCI theory") is that many people feel that the critical feature of god concepts—the gods’ sacredness or ultimacy—is not explained by the ...

Read More

CFP : Conference on cognitive development, Central European University, Budapest

Invited Speakers : Ellen Markman (Stanford University), Josep Call (MPI EVA, Leipzig), and the hosts: György Gergely & Gergely Csibra (CEU) The conference will be held on January 14-15, 2011. Deadline for symposia: 10th September, 2010, Deadline for posters: 10th October, 2010. Call for ...

Read More

“Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire!” A reply to Frans de Waal

I am used to being attacked by fellow anthropologists for having a naturalistic approach and for arguing that cognitive science, experimental methods, and evolutionary theorizing are highly relevant to anthropology’s pursuit. Some of these attacks have been quite violent (one, in l’Ho...

Read More

Three Questions for Michael Tomasello

Michael Tomasello is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and Co-Director of the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center. He has conducted and inspired research on a wide range of questions of critical relevance and foundational importance to the cognition and ...

Read More

Why do academics oppose capitalism?

A few weeks ago, Megan McArdle, the business and economics editor for The Atlantic, wondered why Academia treats its workforce so badly. Academia has bifurcated into two classes: tenured professors who are decently paid, have lifetime job security, and get to work on whatever strikes their ...

Read More

A psychological theory of human tool use

An interesting and ambitious article by François Osiurak, Christophe Jarry,and Didier Le Gall: "Grasping the affordances, understanding the reasoning: toward a dialectical theory of human tool use" in Psychological Review, (2010 -117(2):517-40) freely available here. Abstract: ...

Read More

The self in ‘face’ and ‘dignity’ cultures

Two interesting articles by Young-Hoon Kim and Dov Cohen: "Information, Perspective, and Judgement about the Self in Face and Dignity Cultures" in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2010 36: 537-550) here; and, with Wing-Tung Au: "The jury and abjury of my peers: The self in ...

Read More

Pinker on Mind and Media

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Mind over Mass Media", Steven Pinker (June, 10, 2010) challenges persistent clichés. It begins: "New forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as ...

Read More

Communication, punishment and common pool resources

Economic games have been discussed several times on this blog. Their extreme simplicity makes them attractive tools for an experimental approach, but it also makes them all too perfect examples of lack of naturalness and ecological validity. Still many would argue that, together with formal ...

Read More