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  1. George E. Newman & Frank C. Keil, Where's the Essence? Developmental Shifts in Children's Beliefs About Internal Features.
    The present studies investigated children’s and adults’ intuitive beliefs about the physical nature of essences. Adults and children (ranging in age from 6 to 10 years old) were asked to reason about two different ways of determining an unknown object’s category: taking a tiny internal sample from any part of the object (distributed view of essence), or taking a sample from one specific region (localized view of essence). Results from three studies indicated that adults strongly endorsed the distributed view, and (...)
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  2. Frank C. Keil & George E. Newman (2015). Order, Order Everywhere, and Only an Agent to Think: The Cognitive Compulsion to Infer Intentional Agents. Mind and Language 30 (2):117-139.
    Several studies demonstrate that an intuitive link between agents and order emerges within the first year of life. This appreciation seems importantly related to similar forms of inference, such as the Argument from Design. We suggest, however, that infants and young children may be more accurate in their tendencies to infer agents from order than older children and adults, who often infer intentional agents when there are none. Thus, the earliest inferences about intentional agents based on order may be quite (...)
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  3. George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe (2015). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science 39 (1):96-125.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about what a person values, whether a person is happy, whether a person has shown weakness of will, and whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true self” explain these observed (...)
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  4. T. Andrew Poehlman & George E. Newman (2014). Potential: The Valuation of Imagined Future Achievement. Cognition 130 (1):134-139.
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  5. George E. Newman, Daniel M. Bartels & Rosanna K. Smith (2014). Are Artworks More Like People Than Artifacts? Individual Concepts and Their Extensions. Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (4):647-662.
    This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization of (...)
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  6. George E. Newman (2013). The Duality of Art: Body and Soul. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (2):153 - 153.
    Bullot & Reber (B&R) make a strong case for the role of causal reasoning in the appreciation of artwork. Although I agree that an artistic design stance is important for art appreciation, I suggest that it is a subset of a more general framework for evaluating artworks as the causal extensions of individuals, which includes inferences about the creator's mind, as well as more physical notions of essence.
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  7. Frank C. Keil & George E. Newman (2010). Darwin and Development: Why Ontogeny Does Not Recapitulate Phylogeny for Human Concepts. In Denis Mareschal, Paul Quinn & Stephen E. G. Lea (eds.), The Making of Human Concepts. OUP Oxford 317.
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  8. George E. Newman, Kristi L. Lockhart & Frank C. Keil (2010). “End-of-Life” Biases in Moral Evaluations of Others. Cognition 115 (2):343-349.
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  9. George E. Newman, Sergey V. Blok & Lance J. Rips (2006). Beliefs in Afterlife as a by-Product of Persistence Judgments. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):480-481.
    We agree that supernatural beliefs are pervasive. However, we propose a more general account rooted in how people trace ordinary objects over time. Tracking identity involves attending to the causal history of an object, a process that may implicate hidden mechanisms. We discuss experiments in which participants exhibit the same “supernatural” beliefs when reasoning about the fates of cups and automobiles as those exhibited by Bering's participants when reasoning about spirits.
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