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The invention of cuneiform: Writing in Sumer

This month we are reading the final chapters of Jean-Jacques Glassner's The invention of cuneiform: Writing in Sumer (2003). Glassner's work is original in both its style and scope. He opens with a Sumerian-centric account of the invention of writing within its historical and cultural context, as drawn from primary archeological and paleographic evidence. ...

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How human are the dehumanised?

Developmental psychologist Paul Bloom recently published an article in The New Yorker about dehumanisation. He argued – drawing on research from many subfields in philosophy, psychology, anthropology and sociology – that the way we often think about things like slavery, genocide and misogyny is in some respects upside down. The problem isn’t that people sometimes see others as not human, it’s that they see others as very human indeed – with all that that entails....

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Are liberals too dumb to understand this? Virtue signaling in the age of outrage advertising

Through our newsfeeds and social media, we are constantly confronted with articles and headlines (like the headline of this piece) that have been deliberately designed to provoke outrage and attract clicks. We often naively think that by sharing our outrage on Facebook or Twitter, we are performing a small but good deed. However the collective effect of these small deeds often ends up exactly the opposite of what was intended....

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Can teleology explain why very young children help a mistaken agent?

3-year-olds fail to accurately predict where a mistaken agent is likely to look for her toy if they are explicitly asked to do so. However, preverbal infants (who are not asked anything in implicit tasks) have been widely shown to expect a mistaken agent to act in accordance with the content of her false belief (cf. Baillargeon et al., 2010 for review). This is the puzzle of the discrepant developmental findings. ...

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Communication, Culture, and Cognition in Seville, May 2-4, 2018

The Eighth International Symposium on Intercultural, Cognitive and Social Pragmatics (EPICS VIII) will be held on 2nd-4th May 2018, at the University of Seville (Spain). The conference theme will be “Communication, culture and cognition”. Deadline for poster and oral presentations abstracts: December 1....

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What it took for break-up songs to become cultural items

Gloria Gaynor singing I will survive

Some of the skills you develop as a PhD student were not on the program. Now two years into my PhD, I realize that I have become much better at composing nice playlists, and in particular break-up songs playlists. Admittedly, this is not what I thought I’d get good at, but, well, it still counts as a skill or knowledge of some sort, and I enjoy my newly-won status of information-provider. After years been given advice about music by others, ending up in the position of the adviser feels like an achievement....

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X. Dubrovnik Conference on Cognitive Science, 24-27 May 2018

The 10th Dubrovnik Conference in Cognitive Science on Communication, Pragmatics, and Theory of Mind, will take place on 24-27 May 2018, in the Center for Advanced Studies of Dubrovnik, Croatia, located by the Adriatic sea at the foot of the old city of Dubrovnik (Croatia), a UNESCO world heritage site....

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Post-Doctoral Fellowships with Christine Legare at Austin, Texas

  The Cognition, Culture, and Development Lab (PI: Cristine Legare) at The University of Texas at Austin invites applications for three NSF-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. The objective of this cross-cultural research project is to study the psychological processes that allow us to learn, create, and transmit culture....

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Assistant professorship in Evolutionary Social Science at ASU

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University invites applications for an assistant professor to join our world-leading program in evolutionary social science. ...

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We may be thinking about it all wrong

“What should we do about North Korea?” asked an article in the September 8 edition of the Washington Post. What made me read the article, however, was not the title but the subtitle:  “We may be thinking about it all wrong.” Might the article be of relevance to the psychology of reasoning? ...

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Culture-and-cognition research on the ISIS Frontline

Are decisions in extreme conflicts driven by cost–benefit calculations? The work of Scott Atran and colleagues on ISIS fighters casts doubt on this common social science assumption. It illustrates ...

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