from month 03/2011

Pointing among the Yucatec Maya. A reply to Emmanuel Dupoux

(This was originally posted as a comment but it seem to us so interesting and relevant that we have asked Olivier Le Guen to revise it into a blog post) In a recent post, Emmanuel Dupoux asked: “- Is human pointing avoidance uniform across cultures? Could anyone point to cross-cultural ...

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Words or Deeds

Words or Deeds? Choosing what to know about others (link to the article) Erte Xiao & Cristina Bicchieri Social cooperation often relies on individuals’ spontaneous norm obedience when there is no punishment for violation or reward for compliance. However, people do not consistently ...

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False choice: Is the underrepresentation of women in science by choice or by discrimination?

This post is about Ceci and William’s PNAS article, Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science, which has spawned a particular kind of narrative -- one that has been around for a while, but which now bears the imprint of evidence. This narrative is captured ...

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Does atheism challenge the naturalness of religious belief?

Common wisdom has it that religious belief is natural, whereas atheism, physicalism and other forms of unbelief are unnatural (see for example, Rober McCauley's The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of Science, to be found here). The sociologist Rodney Stark announced the death of ...

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Birthers, Obama, and conflicting intuitions

Those of you who deal with psychiatry know of the rare and tragic condition called Capgras delusion. In this condition, the patient ceases to recognize his or her spouse, father, mother, another familiar person or even a pet. The patient is quite certain that this person they interact with, ...

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The 9th Annual NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture

The Opening ceremonies of The 9th Annual NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture, (NYI 9) will take place on July 18, 2010 at the School of Arts and Philology, St. Petersburg State University. The New York-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture ...

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Instrumentality Boosts Gratitude

Instrumentality Boosts Gratitude: Helpers Are More Appreciated While They Are Useful (link to the article) Benjamin Converse & Ayelet Fishbach We propose that in social interactions, gratitude for a helper depends on the helper’s instrumentality: The more motivated one is to ...

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Cultural relativism: Another victim of Arab revolutions?

As we are watching the fall of dictators and the wind of liberty sweeping in the Arab world, we may not have noticed another victim of this “springtime of Arab people”, namely the individualistic/collectivistic divide. In psychology, many scientists have adopted a kind of culturalism ...

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The theologian’s tragedy or the theologian’s trump card?

In October 2011, I will be working on a Templeton fellowship at the University of Oxford. My project is entitled Cognitive origins of intuitions in natural theology. See here for more details. The abstract is as follows: “Arguments in natural theology (like the fine tuning argument or the ...

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What is anthropology about?

In a comment just appeared in Nature Adam Kuper and Jonathan Marks give a brief account of how it happened that anthropologists have lost the ability to agree on what their discipline is about – a fact that they regard as much more shocking than the recent elision of the word science from the ...

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