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  1. Pascal Boyer, Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion.
    Recent work in biology, cognitive psychology, and archaeology has renewed evolutionary perspectives on the role of natural selection in the emergence and recurrent forms of religious thought and behavior, i.e., mental representations of supernatural agents, as well as artifacts, ritual practices, moral systems, ethnic markers, and specific experiences associated with these representations. One perspective, inspired from behavioral ecology, attempts to measure the fitness effects of religious practices. Another set of models, representative of evolutionary psychology, explain religious thought and behavior as (...)
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  2. Pamela J. Stewart, Pascal Boyer, Robert N. McCauley, Luther H. Martin & Garry W. Trompf, Book Review Forum [Page 4]. [REVIEW]
    We are pleased to present the following Review Forum of Harvey Whitehouse’s book, Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. 204 pages. ISBN 0-19- 823414-7 (cloth); 0-19-823415-5 (paper). We have given the contributors and the book’s author sufficient space to discuss its themes carefully and thus make a significant contribution to the further analysis of religion and ritual generally.
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  3. Nicolas Baumard & Pascal Boyer (2013). Explaining Moral Religions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (6):272-280.
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  4. Pascal Boyer (2011). Intuitive Expectations and the Detection of Mental Disorder: A Cognitive Background to Folk-Psychiatries. Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):95-118.
  5. Pascal Boyer (2009). Cognitive Predispositions and Cultural Transmission. In Pascal Boyer & James Wertsch (eds.), Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge. 288.
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  6. Pascal Boyer (2009). In Cognition and Culture. In Pascal Boyer & James Wertsch (eds.), Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge. 3.
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  7. Pascal Boyer (2009). What Are Memories For? Functions of Recall in Cognition and Culture. In Pascal Boyer & James Wertsch (eds.), Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge. 3--28.
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  8. Pascal Boyer, Ryan T. McKay & Daniel C. Dennett (2009). Extending the Range of Adaptive Misbelief: Memory “Distortions” as Functional Features. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):513.
    A large amount of research in cognitive psychology is focused on memory distortions, understood as deviations from various (largely implicit) standards. Many alleged distortions actually suggest a highly functional system that balances the cost of acquiring new information with the benefit of relevant, contextually appropriate decision-making. In this sense many memories may be examples of functionally adaptive misbelief.
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  9. Pascal Boyer & James Wertsch (eds.) (2009). Memory in Mind and Culture. Cambridge.
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  10. Pascal Boyer (2008). Evolutionary Economics of Mental Time Travel? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (6):219-224.
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  11. Pascal Boyer (2006). Prosocial Aspects of Afterlife Beliefs: Maybe Another by-Product. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):466-466.
    Bering argues that belief in posthumous intentional agency may confer added fitness via the inhibition of opportunistic behavior. This is true only if these agents are interested parties in our moral choices, a feature which does not result from Bering's imaginative constraint hypothesis and extends to supernatural agents other than dead people's souls. A by-product model might handle this better.
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  12. Pascal Boyer & Pierre Liénard (2006). Precaution Systems and Ritualized Behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):635-641.
    In reply to commentary on our target article, we supply further evidence and hypotheses in the description of ritualized behaviors in humans. Reactions to indirect fitness threats probably activate specialized precaution systems rather than a unified form of danger-avoidance or causal reasoning. Impairment of precaution systems may be present in pathologies other than obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), autism in particular. Ritualized behavior is attention-grabbing enough to be culturally transmitted whether or not it is associated with group identity, cohesion, or with any (...)
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  13. Pascal Boyer & Pierre Liénard (2006). Why Ritualized Behavior? Precaution Systems and Action Parsing in Developmental, Pathological and Cultural Rituals. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):595-613.
    Ritualized behavior, intuitively recognizable by its stereotypy, rigidity, repetition, and apparent lack of rational motivation, is found in a variety of life conditions, customs, and everyday practices: in cultural rituals, whether religious or non-religious; in many children's complicated routines; in the pathology of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD); in normal adults around certain stages of the life-cycle, birthing in particular. Combining evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuropsychology and neuroimaging, we propose an explanation of ritualized behavior in terms of an evolved Precaution System geared (...)
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  14. Pascal Boyer, Philip Robbins & Anthony I. Jack (2005). Varieties of Self-Systems Worth Having. Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):647-660.
  15. Pascal Boyer (2003). Cognitive Science and Neuroscience of Religious Thought and Behavior. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7:119-24.
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  16. Pascal Boyer (2003). Religious Thought and Behaviour as by-Products of Brain Function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):119-124.
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  17. Pascal Boyer & Charles Ramble (2001). Cognitive Templates for Religious Concepts: Cross‐Cultural Evidence for Recall of Counter‐Intuitive Representations. Cognitive Science 25 (4):535-564.
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  18. Patrick Baert, Brian Baigrie, Stanley Barrett, Pascal Boyer, Michael Chiarello, R. H. Coase, Lorraine Code, Wes Cooper, Timothy M. Costelloe & Robert D’Amico (2000). Refereeing in 1997. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 30 (3):480.
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  19. Pascal Boyer (2000). Natural Epistemology or Evolved Metaphysics? Developmental Evidence for Early-Developed, Intuitive, Category-Specific, Incomplete, and Stubborn Metaphysical Presumptions. Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):277 – 297.
    Cognitive developmental evidence is sometimes conscripted to support ''naturalized epistemology'' arguments to the effect that a general epistemic stance leads children to build theory-like accounts of underlying properties of kinds. A review of the evidence suggests that what prompts conceptual acquisition is not a general epistemic stance but a series of category-specific intuitive principles that constitute an evolved ''natural metaphysics''. This consists in a system of categories and category-specific inferential processes founded on definite biases in prototype formation. Evidence for this (...)
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  20. Pascal Boyer (2000). Natural Epistemology of Evolved Metaphysics? Developmental Evidence for Early-Developmental Evidence for Early-Developed, Intuitive, Category-Specific, Incomplete, and Stubborn Metaphysical Presumptions. Philosophical Psychology 13:277-297.
     
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  21. Pascal Boyer (1999). Human Cognition and Cultural Evolution. In Henrietta L. Moore (ed.), Anthropological Theory Today. Polity Press. 206--33.
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  22. Pascal Boyer (1998). Cultural Transmission with an Evolved Intuitive Ontology: Domain-Specific Cognitive Tracks of Inheritance. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):570-571.
    Atran's account of cultural transmission can be further refined by considering constraints from early-developed, domain-specific intuitive ontological understanding. These suggest specific predictions about the cultural survival of “memes,” depending on the way they activate intuitive understanding. There is no general dynamic of cultural inheritance; only complex predictions for domain-specific competencies that cut across cultural domains.
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  23. Pascal Boyer (1998). If “Tracking” is Category-Specific a “Common Structure” May Be Redundant. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):67-68.
    Identifying objects as members of ontological domains activates category-specific processes. There is evidence that these processes include particular ways of “tracking” substances and could do all the “tracking” necessary for concept acquisition. There may be no functional need or evolutionary scenario for a general tracking capacity of the kind described by Millikan.
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  24. Pascal Boyer (1996). Cognitive Limits to Conceptual Relativity: The Limitingcase of Religious Categories. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds.), Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge University Press. 203--231.
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  25. Pascal Boyer (1992). Causal Thinking and its Anthropological Misrepresentation. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (2):187-213.
    The study of causal inferences is an essential part of the study of other cultures. It is therefore crucial to describe the cognitive mechanisms whereby subjects are led to find specific causal explanations plausible and "natural." In the anthropological literature, specific causal connections are described as the result produced by applying a general "conception of causation" or some general "theories" to specific events; the essay aims to show that these answers are either trivial or false. The "naturalness" of explanations must (...)
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  26. Pascal Boyer (1987). The Stuff 'Traditions' Are Made Of: On the Implicit Ontology of an Ethnographic Category. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (1):49-65.