Olivier Morin’s blog

Cognition. Culture. Things in between.

Exit Ghost?

Biological Reviews publishes a 25-authors paper lead by Simon Townsend and titled "Exorcising Grice’s ghost: an empirical approach to studying intentional communication in animals." I was quite

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Alberto Acerbi on cultural evolution

Alberto Acerbi's excellent blog hosts a noteworthy discussion of Claidière, Scott-Phillips and Sperber's recent PTRS paper on cultural attraction. Alex Mesoudi, Thom Scott-Phillips and Dan Speber

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Incredible! Listening to ‘When I’m 64’ makes you forget your age

As an illustration of the power of priming experiments to produce astonishing findings, a recent study shows that people tend to underestimate their age (but not their father’s) after listening

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Blogs from ICCI contributors

ICCI contributors also blog elsewhere. I am happy to recommend two new blogs: Hugo Mercier's Social by Design on Psychology Today is devoted to popularizing his and Sperber's argumentative

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How much trust should we put in experimental results?

Thinking back on the year 2010, cognitive scientists will probably remember it as the year the Hauser affair broke out after years of rumors. That summer, a Harvard investigation committee found Marc

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Denis Dutton (1944-2010)

In twelve years of existence, Arts and Letters daily hardly ever let a day pass without publishing its three witty three-liners. On the 28th of december, the feed was unusually late. It quickly

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camphor – ammonia = anniseed x peppermint

How can we count? Where does our arithmetic capacity come from? A lot of progress has been made on this question, thanks, in no small part, to the work of cognitive scientists like Susan Carey and

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Religion science: if you pay the piper, do you call the tune?

A hot debate has been taking place these last few days, in the comments section of Harvey Whitehouse's recent post on religion. Part of the dispute has to do with the way cognitive scientists

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Conversation Hackers

Olivier Morin and Sophie Claudel Human argumentation is at the center of recent (and less recent) psychological work. We are learning a lot about our ability to argue. But the motivation behind

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How much of a difference does culture make ?

In my latest post, I mentioned a very nice study that looked at differences in face-processing between East Asians and Westerners. Though it made a couple of fascinating points, the study also

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Japanese smileys vs. Ekman faces

Some medias and the blogosphere (see here, here and here) are celebrating a new study published in Current Biology, allegedly showing that recognition of facial expressions is not universal.

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Incest in France

The French used to be astoundingly tolerant of incest, but times are changing. Cover of the 1984 single Lemon Incest, a song featuring Serge Gainsbourg with his daughter Charlotte. Videoclip

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How Grandma stopped worrying, and started to love cognitive anthropology

In the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a paper by Dimitrios Kapogiannis et al. proposes "an integrative cognitive neuroscience framework for understanding the cognitive

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Dinosaurs go Machiavellian

Neurophilosophy grabbed the attention of the 10-years-old in me with a post on the brain of dinosaurs. A team of Ohio osteopaths is trying to reconstruct inner soft tissues in dinosaurs' cranium

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Astounding! Readers use their imagination when reading

  Everyday, in spite of the critics, neuroimaging keeps on producing vast increases in our understanding of culture. This week, for example, Boing Boing and Physorg enthusiastically

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How automatic are human social skills?

This January in Biology and Philosophy, philosopher Mitch Parsell questions the view that some parts of social cognition, like face-perception or gaze-following, are independent mechanisms working

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Descartes’ skull

(This post was writtten last week - see post-scriptum) In these times of financial and social crisis, the French government is at work. On January the 12th, an interministerial commission will be

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Social neuroscience under attack

"A disturbingly large, and quite prominent, segment of social neuroscience research is using seriously defective research methods..." This is one of the conclusions of an exciting paper

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Cartoon Faces

In Jonathan Franzen's latest book, The Discomfort Zone (highly recommended), I found a nice couple of paragraphs dwelling on the psychology of cartoon faces. Franzen is reminiscing on his

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Scots, Birds, and Names

On Strange Maps, I found the following piece of concrete poetry: A Chaffinch Map of Scotland, by Edwin Morgan.   "The chaffinch is "a most common of European finch species is

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4 Stone Hearth 54: marriage and Japanese toys

This is the 54th issue of the Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival. The next issue will be hosted by The Greenbelt. Anthro-bloggers this fortnight have written countless posts celebrating

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Do we bend it like Beckham?

This post is part of a small series of posts on social learning and cooperation. Jean-Baptiste's reaction to Laurent Lehmann's (and his colleagues') criticism of Boyd and Richerson&#

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This week: social learning and cooperation

This week on cognitionandculture.net, several posts will dwell on social learning and cooperation. Laurent Lehmann, Marcus Feldmann and others have a series of papers that call into question many

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Community and Religion: poor predictors of the bliss of nations

Let me begin with this video - it was shot last Sunday in Jerusalem, in the Basilic where the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb of Jesus Christ, is vigilated by two opposing platoons of Armenian priests and

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