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Nicholas Humphrey [53]Nicholas K. Humphrey [1]
  1. Nicholas Humphrey, Human Hand-Walkers: Five Siblings Who Never Stood Up.
    Human beings begin life as quadrupeds, crawling on all fours, but none has ever been known to retain this gait and develop it into a proficient replacement for adult bipedality. We report the case of a family in which five siblings, who suffer from a rare form of cerebellar ataxia, are still quadrupeds as adults - walking and running on their feet and wrists. We describe the remarkable features of this gait, discuss how it has developed in the members of (...)
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  2. Nicholas Humphrey, (Biographical Sketch).
    I went to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1961 with a scholarship in Physics and Mathematics. But, coming under the influence of William Rushton, I soon decided that I wanted to study how the mind works - and I took my final degree in Psychology and Physiology.
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  3. Nicholas Humphrey, Commentary on Michael Winkelman, 'Shamanism and Cognitive Evolution'.
    ‘The shamanic context of cave art is attested by a number of features’, Michael Winkelman writes (p.6); and, scarcely pausing for breath, he proceeds to reel off as if they were matters of established fact a list of co njectures about the authorship and meaning of ice-age cave paintings. We are t o conclude, without question apparently, that ‘cave art images represent shamanic activities and altered states of consciousness, and the subterranean rock art sites were used for shamanic vision questing’ (...)
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  4. Nicholas Humphrey, City of Mists and Fruitful Mellowness.
    The dissident students from Oxford, who in the year 1209 settled in Cambridge, are said to have been on their way to the cathedral town of Ely. But they stayed the night in Cambridge, fell under its spell, and never left. A century earlier wool merchants from Yorkshire, travelling to the big fair in Norwich, got caught in a rain storm at the bridge across the Cam, unpacked their merchandise to let it dry, sold the lot, and thereafter made Cambridge's (...)
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  5. Nicholas Humphrey, Follow My Leader.
    Ian Kershaw, in his new biography of Hitler2, quotes a teenage girl, writing to celebrate Hitler’s 50th birthday in April 1939: “a great man, a genius, a person sent to us from heaven”. What kind o f design-flaw in human nature could be responsible for such a seemingly grotesque piece of hero-worship? Why do people in general fall so easily under the sway of dictators?
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  6. Nicholas Humphrey, Great Expectations: The Evolutionary Psychology of Faith- Healing and the Placebo Effect.
    I said that the cure itself is a certain leaf, but in addition to the drug there is a certain charm, which if someone chants when he makes use of it, the medicine altogether restores him to health, but without the charm there is no profit from the leaf.
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  7. Nicholas Humphrey, Getting the Measure of Consciousness.
    The hard problem of consciousness is to explain the experience of qualia. But everything gets easier once we realise that what has to be explained is not how qualia can exist as objective entities but rather why the conscious subject should believe that they exist. This essay lays out a programme for doing this. It makes radical proposals as to how the “qualia illusion” is created, and why sustaining this illusion is biologically adaptive.
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  8. Nicholas Humphrey, In Reply.
    It is very difficult, now that everybody is so accustomed to everything, to give an idea of the kind of uneasiness felt when one first looked at all these pictures on these walls. . . Now I was confused and I looked and I looked and I was confused.
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  9. Nicholas Humphrey, One Self: A Meditation on the Unity of Consciousness. Social Research, 67, No. 4, 32-39, 2000.
    I am looking at my baby son, as he thrashes around in his crib, two arms flailing, hands grasping randomly, legs kicking the air, head and eyes turning this way and that, a smile followed by a grimace crossing his face. . . And I’m wondering: what is it like to be him? What is he feeling now? What kind of experience is he having of himself?
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  10. Nicholas Humphrey, Psycoloquy, 10(024), 1999.
    Skoyles’s case against human brain size being related to IQ is strong; but his case in favor of its being related to expertise is weak. I propose that the explanation for the evolutionary expansion of the human brain in fact lies far away, in the need to have a brain that could continue to function into old age.
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  11. Nicholas Humphrey, Publications.
    Books: Consciousness Regained: Chapters in the Development of Mind , Oxford University Press, 1983 [Spanish translation 1989]. Four minutes to midnight The BBC Bronowski Memorial Lecture, BBC Publications , 1981; Menard Press 1982. [German, Greek and Russian translations, 1982].
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  12. Nicholas Humphrey, Placebo Effect.
    When people are unwell, they will often begin to recover just as soon as they receive medical attention., but before the treatment could have any direct effect and even when the treatment is a sham. Mere belief that recovery is coming can by itself bring the recovery about.
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  13. Nicholas Humphrey, Questioning Consciousness.
    No one doubts that our experience of phenomenal consciousness—the felt redness of fire, the felt sweetness of a peach, the felt pain of a bee sting—arises from the activity of our brains. Yet the problem of explaining how this can be so seems to many theorists to be staggeringly hard. How can the wine of consciousness, the weird, ineffable, immaterial qualia that give such richness to subjective experience, conceivably arise from the water of the brain? As the philosopher Colin McGinn (...)
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  14. Nicholas Humphrey, The Apparent Heaviness of Colours.
    visually or directly by hand 3,3•4, and the `weighing' of half-inch "The apparent weight of colours . Pictures are often said to circles of coloured paper at either end of a simulated balance have a centre of gravity, perhaps determined by the way the..
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  15. Nicholas Humphrey, The Colour Currency of Nature.
    Mankind as a species has little reason to boast about his sensory capacities. A dog's sense of smell, a bat's hearing, a hawk's visual acuity are all superior to our own. But in one respect we may justifiably be vain: our ability to see colours is a match for any other animal. In this respect we have in fact surprisingly few rivals. Among mammals only our nearest relatives, the monkeys and apes, share our ability – all others are nearly or (...)
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  16. Nicholas Humphrey, The Deformed Transformed.
    And Jesus said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. . . There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or (...)
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  17. Nicholas Humphrey, 1997, “Varieties of Altruism – and the Common Ground Between Them”, Social Research, 64, 199-209.
    Altruistic behaviour, where it occurs in nature, is commonly assumed to belong to one or other of two generically different types. Either it is an example of "kin selected altruism" such as occurs between blood relatives – a worker bee risking her life to help her sister, for example, or a human father giving protection to his child. Or it is an example of "reciprocal altruism" such as occurs between non-relatives who have entered into a pact to exchange favours – (...)
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  18. Nicholas Humphrey (2012). This Chimp Will Kick Your Ass at Memory Games–but How the Hell Does He Do It? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (7):353-355.
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  19. Nicholas Humphrey (2011). It Takes a Thief to Catch a Thief. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (1):28-28.
    Von Hippel & Trivers (VH&T) dismiss in a couple of pages the possible costs of self-deception. But there is a downside to self-deception that they do not consider. This is the loss of psychological insight into deceit by others that blindness to deceit by oneself is likely to entail.
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  20. Nicholas Humphrey (2011). Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness. Princeton University Press.
    This is a provocative book from a sparkling writer."--Owen Flanagan, Duke University.
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  21. Nicholas Humphrey (2010). Person as Moral Scientist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (04):340.
    Scientists are generally more moral, and moralists more scientific, than Knobe suggests. His own experiments show that people, rather than making unscientific judgements about the moral intentions of others, are behaving as good Bayesians who take account of prior knowledge.
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  22. Nicholas Humphrey (2007). The Society of Selves. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 362 (1480):745-754.
    Human beings are not only the most sociable animals on Earth, but also the only animals that have to ponder the separateness that comes with having a conscious self. The philosophical problem of ‘other minds’ nags away at people’s sense of who—and why—they are. But the privacy of consciousness has an evolutionary history—and maybe even an evolutionary function. While recognizing the importance to humans of mind-reading and psychic transparency, we should consider the consequences and possible benefits of being—ultimately—psychically opaque.
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  23. Nicholas Humphrey (2006). Consciousness: The Achilles Heel of Darwinism? Thank God, Not Quite. In John Brockman (ed.), Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement. Vintage.
    William Paley in his famous statement in 1800 of the Argument from Design, imagined that he found a watch lying on a heath and set to wondering how it came to be there. “The inference is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which.
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  24. Nicholas Humphrey (2006). Introduction: Science Looks at Fairness. Social Research: An International Quarterly 73 (2):345-347.
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  25. Nicholas Humphrey (2006). Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness. Belknap Press.
    The purpose of this book is to build towards an explanation of just what the matter is.
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  26. Nicholas Humphrey, Seeing Red: A Postscript.
    One day someone will write a book that explains consciousness. The book will put forward a theory that closes the “explanatory gap” between conscious experience and brain activity, by showing how a brain state could in principle amount to a state of consciousness. But it will do more. It will demonstrate just why this particular brain state has to be this particular experience. As Dan Lloyd puts it in his philosophical novel, Radiant Cool: “What we need is a transparent theory. (...)
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  27. Nicholas Humphrey, Foreword.
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  28. Nicholas Humphrey (2002). Shamanism and Cognitive Evolution [Commentary on Michael Winkelman]. Philosophical Explorations.
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  29. Nicholas Humphrey (2002). Thinking About Feeling. In G. Richard (ed.), [Book Chapter]. Oxford University Press.
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  30. Nicholas Humphrey, The Mind Made Flesh: Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution.
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  31. Nicholas Humphrey (2001). Doing It My Way: Sensation, Perception – and Feeling Red. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):987-987.
    The theory presented here is a near neighbour of Humphrey's theory of sensations as actions. O'Regan & Noë have opened up remarkable new possibilities. But they have missed a trick by not making more of the distinction between sensation and perception; and some of their particular proposals for how we use our eyes to represent visual properties are not only implausible but would, if true, isolate vision from other sensory modalities and do little to explain the phenomenology of conscious experience (...)
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  32. Nicholas Humphrey (2001). Introduction. Brain and Mind 2 (1):1-4.
  33. Nicholas Humphrey (2001). Introduction [Special Issue: Altered States of Consciousness]. Social Research 68 (3):585-587.
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  34. Nicholas Humphrey (2000). Dreaming as Play. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (6):953-953.
    Dreaming can provide a marvelous opportunity for the “playful” exploration of dramatic events. But the chance to learn to deal with danger is only a small part of it. More important is the chance to discover what it is like to be the subject of strange but humanly significant mental states. [Revonsuo].
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  35. Nicholas Humphrey (2000). How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):5-20.
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  36. Nicholas Humphrey (2000). In Reply [Reply to Commentaries on "How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem"]. Humphrey, Nicholas (2000) in Reply [Reply to Commentaries on "How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem"]. [Journal (Paginated)] 7 (4):98-112.
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  37. Nicholas Humphrey, Now You See It, Now You Don't.
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  38. Nicholas Humphrey (2000). The Privatization of Sensation. In Celia Heyes & Ludwig Huber (eds.), The Evolution of Cognition. Mit Press. 241--252.
    It is the ambition of evolutionary psychology to explain how the basic features of human mental life came to be selected because of their contribution to biological survival. Counted among the most basic must be the subjective qualities of conscious sensory experience: the felt redness we experience on looking at a ripe tomato, the felt saltiness on tasting an anchovy, the felt pain on being pricked by a thorn. But, as many theorists acknowledge, with these qualia, the ambition of evolutionary (...)
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  39. Nicholas Humphrey, The Power of Prayer.
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  40. Nicholas Humphrey (1999). Cave Art, Autism, and the Evolution of the Human Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (6-7):6-7.
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  41. Nicholas Humphrey, Why Grandmothers May Need Large Brains. (Commentary on Skoyles on Brain Expertise).
    Skoyles's case against human brain size being related to IQ is strong; but his case in favor of its being related to expertise is weak. I propose that the explanation for the evolutionary expansion of the human brain in fact lies far away, in the need to have a brain that could continue to function into old age.
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  42. Nicholas Humphrey (1998). What Shall We Tell the Children? In [Book Chapter].
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  43. Nicholas Humphrey (1997). Kinds of Minds. Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):97-103.
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  44. Nicholas Humphrey (1997). Varieties of Altruism - and the Common Ground Between Them. Social Research.
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  45. Nicholas Humphrey (1995). Blocking Out the Distinction Between Sensation and Perception: Superblindsight and the Case of Helen. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (2):257.
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  46. Nicholas Humphrey (1995). Introduction: Histories. Social Research 62 (3):477-79.
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  47. Nicholas Humphrey & Daniel C. Dennett (1989). Speaking for Our Selves: An Assessment of Multiple Personality Disorder. Philosophical Explorations.
  48. Nicholas Humphrey (1988). Lies, Damned Lies and Anecdotal Evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (2):257.
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  49. Nicholas Humphrey, The Uses of Consciousness.
    Reflexive consciousness evolved in the context of early human social life, as a means by which 'natural psychologists' could develop working models of their own and others' minds.
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  50. Nicholas Humphrey (1984). Consciousness Regained: Chapters in the Development of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    Essays discuss the evolution of consciousness, self-knowledge, aesthetics, religious ecstasy, ghosts, and dreams.
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