Denis Tatone

The scope and flavours of cultural attraction theory

Empirical tests of theories of cultural evolution are (relatively) rare. Those using rigorous archeological datasets, even rarer. These reasons alone suffice to make The Origins of Monsters a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the interface between cognition, societal infrastructures, and ...

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The ‘gratitude trap’ where Hungarian patients keep falling

As Rothstein argued at length in his book about the problem of social trust, institutions come in many different flavors: explicitly codified law systems, implicitly taken-for-granted exchange arrangements, and so on. Broadly speaking, they all constitute arrangements of some sort for aggregating ...

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Meat-eating in the eyes of young vegetarians

Not all transgressions are equal in the eyes of a child. Asked to evaluate the permissibility of certain actions (hitting another child, or stealing a toy from her) young children are quick to judge these actions wrong. Their judgment does not change when it is made explicit that in these hypothe...

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Policing friendships. Lessons from the equine world

Imagine two young chimpanzees. One is swaggering, stood on two feet, his coat all puffed up, frantically waving his arms. The other, few meters away, is hooting loudly while beating his hands on the bark of a dead mango tree. They’re both ready to charge. Yet, their postures give away much of ...

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