from month 02/2011

Three posts on ritual and group formation at Oxford

Applications are sought for three posts focusing on the history of ritual and group formation, as part of an international project entitled 'Ritual, community and conflict', based in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind at the University of Oxford, funded by the Economic and Social Research ...

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Strategies for coping with questionable decisions

"I read Playboy for the articles": Strategies for coping with questionable decisions (link to the article) Zoe Chance & Michael Norton Humans are masters of lying and self-deception. We want others to believe us good, fair, responsible and logical, and we yearn to see ourselves ...

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War as a moral imperative

Jeremy Ginges and and Scott Atran again illustrate the relevance of a cognition and culture approach to major political and societal concerns with their article, "War as a moral imperative (not just practical politics by other means)" published online, Feb. 16, 2011, in the Proceedings of ...

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Human avoidance in pointing: a cultural universal?

Emmanuel Dupoux sends a question to our community, on behalf of a team of psychologists studying pointing. The team includes Emmanuel himself, Laurent Cleret de Lagavant, Charlotte Jacquemot and Anne-Catherine Bachoud-Levi. Pointing is a communicative gesture that enables one to attract the ...

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Summer University in Experimental Methods in the Study of Cognition and Culture

This 4-week course to take place at Aarhus University, Denmark, August 1 – 26, 2011 is aimed at graduate students in the humanities and social sciences interested in an introduction to experimental methods engaging questions in the interface of cognition and culture. The course will ...

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Profit-Seeking Punishment Corrupts Norm Obedience

Profit-Seeking Punishment Corrupts Norm Obedience (link to the article) Erte Xiao Punishment typically involves depriving violators of resources they own such as money or labor. These resources can become revenue for authorities and thus motivate profit-seeking punishment. In this paper, we ...

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Children as scientists

(Hat Tip to Ed Yong!) At the end of December, Biology letters published a quite unusual paper entitled "Blackawton bees". It contains some very refreshing conclusions such as: "We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done ...

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Evolutionary Theory and the Ultimate–Proximate Distinction in the Human Behavioral Sciences

The January issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science publishes a paper by Thomas Scott-Phillips, Thomas Dickins, and Stuart West entitled "Evolutionary Theory and the Ultimate-Proximate Distinction in the Human Behavioral Sciences." (also discussed here by Rob Kurzban) Although this ...

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An action suit, not a straightjacket: Whorf on language, Guy Deutscher on Whorf

Guy Deutscher, Through the language glass - Why the world looks different in other languages (2010) - reviewed by Nick Enfield. In April of 1985, Texas Tech student and rape victim Michele Mallin made about as consequential an error of cognition as one can imagine, when she mistakenly identified ...

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Introduction – Reasoning as a social device

Introduction -- Reasoning as a social device (link to the article) Hugo Mercier The social context exerts a very important influence on our decisions, which has not been considered in its full extent by research in decision making. Several strategies are available to take social factors into ...

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Why would (otherwise intelligent) scholars believe in

I do not know if many scholars of religion still believe in gods or spirits, but I know that a great many of them believe in the existence of religion itself - that is, believe that the term "religion" is a useful category, that there is such a thing as religion out there in the world, ...

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What’s wrong, in the end, with Homo Œconomicus ?

Everyone likes to bash Homo œconomicus - not one stone was left uncast at the poor chap. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good stoning just as much as the next religious fanatic, but this may be a case in which we executed the right fellow for the wrong reasons. Most people argued ...

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