from month 03/2012

Nick Enfield reviews Hurford’s The Origins of Grammar

In the Times Literary Supplement, Nick Enfield reviews James R. Hurford's new book The Origins of Grammar, Oxford UP, 2011 (a sequel to The Origins of Meaning, Oxford UP, 2007): "If you could travel back to a time around the dawn of humankind, and if you encountered a people there whose ...

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What explains foxhole theism?

The well-known dictum that there are no atheists in foxholes (the source of this phrase is uncertain) is false. After all, there is even a military organization for atheists, the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. Having read several the testimonies from these military men and ...

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Fluctuations in Word Use from Word Birth to Word Death

A team of mathematicians and phycisists, Alexander M. Petersen, Joel Tenenbaum, Shlomo Havlin, and H. Eugene Stanley, studied the "Statistical Laws Governing Fluctuations in Word Use from Word Birth to Word Death" by analysing the dynamic properties of 107 words recorded in English, ...

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Social Norms and Cultural Dynamics

The journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes has a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on "Social Norms and Cultural Dynamics". Guest Editors: Michael W. Morris (Columbia University), Ying-yi Hong (Nanyang Technological University), Chi-yue Chiu (Nanyang Technological ...

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Emotion in Eastern and Western Music

Just out in PLoSOne, an article on musical cognition entitled "Expression of Emotion in Eastern and Western Music Mirrors Vocalization" by Daniel Liu Bowling, Janani Sundararajan, Shui'er Han, Dale Purves (all from the Purves-lab at Duke). Abstract: In Western music, the major mode ...

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Policing friendships. Lessons from the equine world

Imagine two young chimpanzees. One is swaggering, stood on two feet, his coat all puffed up, frantically waving his arms. The other, few meters away, is hooting loudly while beating his hands on the bark of a dead mango tree. They’re both ready to charge. Yet, their postures give away much of ...

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The Psychosemantics of Free Riding

Forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and available here, "The Psychosemantics of Free Riding: Dissecting the Architecture of a Moral Concept" by Andrew W. Delton, Leda Cosmides, Marvin Guemo, Theresa E. Robertson, and John Tooby. It illustrates the progress that ...

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The Social Evolution Forum

Peter Turchin (co-author of Secular Cycles) and Michael Hochberg recently launched the Social Evolution Forum, a web platform dedicated to naturalistic thinking about institutions. From the site's presentation: The Social Evolution Forum has three dimensions. First, it is a virtual ...

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Summer school: Experimental Methods in the Study of Cognition and Culture

The interface between culture and cognition is a fast-developing research area attracting numerous scholars and scientists with different backgrounds. Neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, and humanists of various sorts seek to find out how evolved cognitive ...

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