from month 12/2017

Is submentalizing part of the genetic tool-kit of human social cognition?

Findings from the developmental investigation of false-belief understanding in preverbal human infants, based on looking time (and other kinds of looking behavior) are relevant to hypotheses about the ontogenetic and the phylogenetic origins of human mindreading capacities. According to Cecilia Heyes (2012), “recent empirical work in comparative psychology, developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience provides surprisingly little evidence of genetic adaptation, and ample evidence of cultural adaptation.”


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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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