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The origin of fairy tales

Hugo Mercier's blog
Published on 2 April 2016 at 07:45
Over at The Atlantic, Ed Young has a very good write up of some work done by Sara Graça da Silva and Jamie Tehrani on the origins of folktales. The researchers have used existing databases of folktakes, fitted them with their geographical distribution, and used statistical methods from evolutionary biology to trace back the ancesty of common European folktales. Their results suggest that some of these folktales might be 6000 years old -- talk about strong attractors!...

Angles of Approach

Written by Clark Barrett
'The Shape of Thought' Book Club
Published on 10 March 2016 at 12:27
First, let me thank the ICCI for hosting this book club, and let me thank Daniel Burnston and Olivier Morin for taking the time to read and review my book. I appreciate both the kind remarks they have made about the book, as well as the challenges they have raised. Debate is exactly what one hopes for when one writes a book such as this. Many of these challenges are well-taken, and I will attempt to address them below....

Does replication matter? The case for conceptual replication and strong inference

Brent Strickland's blog
Published on 8 March 2016 at 13:10
Recent findings from a massive collaborative project (OSF, 2015), attempting to replicate many of the findings published in top psychology journals, have suggested that roughly half of these fail to replicate. These findings deservedly made headlines, and have generated a great deal of reaction amongst psychologists. While some have argued that the estimated rate of non-replicability may have been overestimated (Gilbert, King, Pettigrew, & Wilson, 2016), in water cooler conversations a far more skeptical viewpoint about the usefulness of studying replicability at all has begun to emerge...

“I can’t believe it’s evolutionary psychology!”

Written by Olivier Morin
'The Shape of Thought' Book Club
Published on 7 March 2016 at 10:10
Back in the days when vegetarianism was less fashionable, you could see ads for tofu where a glowing child, her mouth full, exclaimed: “I can’t believe it’s tofu!” One should hope this book will have the same effect on scholars not used to putting Evolutionary Psychology on the dinner table. Clark Barrett’s The Shape of Thought makes a novel case for adaptationism in the study of the mind, one that addresses almost all of the usual concerns of its opponents....

The Evolution of Evolutionary Psychology

Written by Daniel Burnston
'The Shape of Thought' Book Club
Published on 5 March 2016 at 13:25
I am an anti-adaptationist, at least about the mind. I am also someone who has long been convinced by what many take to be the damning criticisms of evolutionary psychology (henceforth, ‘EP’)—the view that (to put it generally), we must and can only understand the organization of the mind in evolutionary terms. So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to review Barrett’s book, and it was with some surprise and delight that I found it so insightful, erudite, and interesting....

A book club on Clark Barrett's 'The Shape of Thought'

Written by ICCI Team
'The Shape of Thought' Book Club
Published on 5 March 2016 at 13:00
Clark Barrett, evolutionary psychologist and anthropologist, professor in the department of Anthropology at UCLA, published in 2015 a book, The Shape of Thought: How Mental Adaptations Evolve, which is both an introduction to evolutionary psychology and a major contribution to its development. The book (we quote the blurb) “ brings together theory from biology and cognitive science to show how the brain can be composed of specialized adaptations, and yet also an organ of plasticity....

Help the Cultural Evolution Society correct its gender imbalance!

Published on 20 February 2016 at 00:41
Last Year, David Sloan Wilson and others launched a Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution which many of us have joined...
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