Alphapsy Archives

Are humans innately bad social scientists?

I know, this sounds a bit extreme. How can the ability to do (bad) social science be influenced by our genes? Well, quite easily if you carefully read Robert Trivers’ last book (see reviews in

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Explanations as orgasms

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Explanations are necessary. Without them, hunter-gatherers would have trouble learning sophisticated hunting techniques and we

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Naive theories of gender differences in maths

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. An interesting study sheds some new light on the "gender and math" controversy, (in)famously reignited last year by Larry

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Who killed Gwen Stacy?

  Or why Superheroes need to know about physics' law of momentum conservation, causal deviance, possible world ontology and memetics. This post, written by Karim N'Diaye, was first

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Do psychiatrists believe in madness?

This post, written in 2006 by Karim N'Diaye, was first published on the Alphapsy blog. A short notice of a short paper investigating whether clinicians hold an essentialist view on mental

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Is terror management theory dying?

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. In a recent post on the psychology of religion, Hugo judged “dubious that we should be endowed with a fear of death so strong that

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Pitt-Rivers haunts the Musée du Quai Branly

This post was originally published in 2006, on the Alphapsy blog. On visiting the brand new Musée du Quai Branly in Paris last Sunday, I was amazed to meet the ghost of one of the most outdated

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Long live the majority!

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. "How should groups make decisions?" this old question is on the way of being answered, as researchers Reid Hastie and Tatsuya

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In praise of babies

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. No news in this post: its only aim is to remind us of how socially savvy babies are. A review paper in press in trends in cognitive

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Who thinks the Earth is flat?

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Less people than you think. Most people have the representation of Columbus valiantly fighting against the authorities and finally

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The face of the thinker

This post was first puvlished in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. The hindsight bias is the tendency to say after an event happened that “we knew it all along”, that it’s not really

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The Blushing Brain

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Moral philosophers have long made the distinguo between guilt (the awareness of doing something intrinsically wrong) and shame (the

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God is dead?

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Atheists (and religious people sometimes too) often think that people believe in God because it shields them from the fear of their

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Art and patterns

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. This is an extremely speculative post exploring multimodal perception in artists. It was primed by this fascinating paper written by

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The power of mind

This post was written in 2006 by Karim N'Diaye. It was originally published on the Alphapsy blog. Social psychologists from Harvard and Princeton campuses report on belief in magical causation

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On conformism among social psychologists

This post was first published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. In a previous post on deliberative democracy, I said that people often attack deliberative democracy on the ground that people are

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Know thyself, yes – but how?

This post was first published on the Alphapsy blog in 2006. The importance of self-knowledge has often been emphasized, from traditional lore to New Age gurus. However, there may be very different

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Washing away our sins

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. A nice paper by Chen-Bo Zhong and Katie Liljenquist in Science about the "Macbeth effect" : a threat to one’s moral

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Reassembling Latour

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog A review of "Reassembling the Social", by Bruno Latour, a handbook that sums up 25 years of controversial research. Still

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The naive theories of ‘Honey I shrunk the kids!’

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Biomorphologist Michael C. LaBarbera has an amazing paper (actually a seven parts lesson) on the physics and biology of B-movie

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What is neuroaesthetics about anyway?

This post was originally written in 2006 by Simon Barthelmé and published on the Alphapsy blog. Martin Skov's Brainethics has a very nice post introducing bioaesthetics, a field that

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From Sudoku to Spinoza: The Hedonistic Side of Reasoning

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. We all have a friend who has spent some time trying to convince us that {insert here your personal bête noire, be it mathem

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How to Corax your theory of mind

This post was originally published in 2006 on the Alphapsy blog. Don't know why I decided to take a course in Greek Rhetoric this semester... But readers will be glad to learn that I really

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