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  1. The Cognitive Foundations of Cultural Stability and Diversity.Dan Sperber & Lawrence A. Hirschfeld - 2004 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):40-46.
  • The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions.Scott Atran & Joseph Henrich - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (1):18-30.
    Understanding religion requires explaining why supernatural beliefs, devotions, and rituals are both universal and variable across cultures, and why religion is so often associated with both large-scale cooperation and enduring group conflict. Emerging lines of research suggest that these oppositions result from the convergence of three processes. First, the interaction of certain reliably developing cognitive processes, such as our ability to infer the presence of intentional agents, favors—as an evolutionary by-product—the spread of certain kinds of counterintuitive concepts. Second, participation in (...)
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  • Adaptationism for Human Cognition: Strong, Spurious, or Weak?Scott Atran - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (1):39-67.
    Strong adaptationists explore complex organic design as taskspecific adaptations to ancestral environments. This strategy seems best when there is evidence of homology. Weak adaptationists don't assume that complex organic (including cognitive and linguistic) functioning necessarily or primarily represents taskspecific adaptation. This approach to cognition resembles physicists' attempts to deductively explain the most facts with fewest hypotheses. For certain domainspecific competencies (folkbiology) strong adaptationism is useful but not necessary to research. With grouplevel belief systems (religion) strong adaptationism degenerates into spurious notions (...)
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  • The Trouble with Memes: Inference Versus Imitation in Cultural Creation.Scott Atran - 2001 - Human Nature 12 (4):351-381.
    Memes are hypothetical cultural units passed on by imitation; although nonbiological, they undergo Darwinian selection like genes. Cognitive study of multimodular human minds undermines memetics: unlike in genetic replication, high-fidelity transmission of cultural information is the exception, not the rule. Constant, rapid 'mutation' of information during communication generates endlessly varied creations that nevertheless adhere to modular input conditions. The sort of cultural information most susceptible to modular processing is that most readily acquired by children, most easily transmitted across individuals, most (...)
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  • The Inherence Heuristic: A Basis for Psychological Essentialism?Susan A. Gelman & Meredith Meyer - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (5):490-490.
    Cimpian & Salomon provide evidence that psychological essentialism rests on a domain-general attention to inherent causes. We suggest that the inherence heuristic may itself be undergirded by a more foundational cognitive bias, namely, a realist assumption about environmental regularities. In contrast, when considering specific representations, people may be more likely to activate attention to non-inherent, contingent, and historical links.
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  • Is the Inherence Heuristic Simply WEIRD?Andrew Scott Baron - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (5):481-481.
    Although many studies suggest that children and adults focus more on internal causes rather than situational causes to explain observed patterns, such findings may be more limited to WEIRD populations samples. Evidence from cross-cultural studies may point to several distinct attribution mechanisms with their culturally specific deployment reflecting both a developmental achievement as well as a possible signal of group boundaries.
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  • The Inherence Heuristic: An Intuitive Means of Making Sense of the World, and a Potential Precursor to Psychological Essentialism.Andrei Cimpian & Erika Salomon - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (5):461-480.
    We propose that human reasoning relies on an inherence heuristic, an implicit cognitive process that leads people to explain observed patterns (e.g., girls wear pink) in terms of the inherent features of their constituents (e.g., pink is an inherently feminine color). We then demonstrate how this proposed heuristic can provide a unified account for a broad set of findings spanning areas of research that might at first appear unrelated (e.g., system justification, nominal realism, is–ought errors in moral reasoning). By revealing (...)
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  • Conceptualizing Spirit Possession: Ethnographic and Experimental Evidence.Emma Cohen & Justin L. Barrett - 2008 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 36 (2):246-267.
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  • Universal Moral Grammar: A Critical Appraisal.Pierre Jacob & Emmanuel Dupoux - 2007 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (9):373-378.
    A new framework for the study of the human moral faculty is currently receiving much attention: the so-called ‘universal moral grammar' framework. It is based on an intriguing analogy, first pointed out by Rawls, between the study of the human moral sense and Chomsky's research program into the human language faculty. In order to assess UMG, we ask: is moral competence modular? Does it have an underlying hierarchical grammatical structure? Does moral diversity rest on culture-dependent parameters? We review evidence that (...)
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  • Sedm důvodů pro nemožnost vytvoření univerzální definice života.Vladimír Vodička - 2014 - Profil.
    Although life and questions connected with its definition among traditional philosophical topics, at the beginning of the twenty-first century and after roughly two and a half thousand years of philosophical tradition no satisfactory definition of life is at one’s disposal. Though difficulties bond up with life definition don´t accompany philosophy alone, but also almost all fields touched by this topic. Causes of this state of affairs can be viewed as a combination of several complementary connected facts. Those facts are in (...)
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  • Culture and Cognition.Richard E. Nisbett & Ara Norenzayan - 2002 - In J. Wixted & H. Pashler (eds.), Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology. Wiley.
  • Was Race Thinking Invented in the Modern West?Ron Mallon - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):77-88.
    The idea that genuinely racial thinking is a modern invention is widespread in the humanities and social sciences. However, it is not always clear exactly what the content of such a conceptual break is supposed to be. One suggestion is that with the scientific revolution emerged a conception of human groups that possessed essences that were thought to explain group-typical features of individuals as well the accumulated products of cultures or civilizations. However, recent work by cognitive and evolutionary psychologists suggests (...)
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  • Consistent Belief in a Good True Self in Misanthropes and Three Interdependent Cultures.Julian De Freitas, Hagop Sarkissian, George E. Newman, Igor Grossmann, Felipe De Brigard, Andres Luco & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (S1):134-160.
    People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To address this (...)
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  • Hacking’s Historical Epistemology: A Critique of Styles of Reasoning.Martin Kusch - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):158-173.
    The paper begins with a detailed reconstruction of the development of Ian Hacking’s theory of scientific ‘styles of reasoning’, paying particular attention to Alistair Crombie’s influence, and suggesting that Hacking’s theory deserves to come under the title ‘historical epistemology’. Subsequently, the paper seeks to establish three critical theses. First, Hacking’s reliance on Crombie leads him to adopt an outdated historiographical position; second, Hacking is unsuccessful in his attempt to distance historical epistemology from epistemic relativism; and third, Hacking has not offered (...)
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  • Five Misunderstandings About Cultural Evolution.Peter Richerson - 2008 - Human Nature 19 (2):119-137.
    Recent debates about memetics have revealed some widespread misunderstandings about Darwinian approaches to cultural evolution. Drawing from these debates, this paper disputes five common claims: (1) mental representations are rarely discrete, and therefore models that assume discrete, gene-like particles (i.e., replicators) are useless; (2) replicators are necessary for cumulative, adaptive evolution; (3) content-dependent psychological biases are the only important processes that affect the spread of cultural representations; (4) the “cultural fitness” of a mental representation can be inferred from its successful (...)
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  • Wired for Society: Cognizing Pathways to Society and Culture.Laurence Kaufmann & Fabrice Clément - 2014 - Topoi 33 (2):459-475.
    While cognitive scientists increase their tentative incursions in the social domains traditionally reserved for social scientists, most sociologists and anthropologists keep decrying those attempts as reductionist or, at least, irrelevant. In this paper, we argue that collaboration between social and cognitive sciences is necessary to understand the impact of the social environment on the shaping of our mind. More specifically, we dwell on the cognitive strategies and early-developing deontic expectations, termed naïve sociology, which enable well-adapted individuals to constitute, maintain and (...)
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  • What Are Cultural Attractors?Andrew Buskell - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (3):377-394.
    Concepts from cultural attractor theory are now used in domains far from their original home in anthropology and cultural evolution. Yet these concepts have not been consistently characterised. I here distinguish four ways in which the cultural attractor concept has been used and identify three kinds of factors of attraction typically appealed to. Clarifying these explanatory concepts identifies problems and ambiguities in the work of cultural epidemiologists and commentators alike.
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  • The Role of Intuitive Ontologies in Scientific Understanding – the Case of Human Evolution.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):351-368.
    Psychological evidence suggests that laypeople understand the world around them in terms of intuitive ontologies which describe broad categories of objects in the world, such as ‘person’, ‘artefact’ and ‘animal’. However, because intuitive ontologies are the result of natural selection, they only need to be adaptive; this does not guarantee that the knowledge they provide is a genuine reflection of causal mechanisms in the world. As a result, science has parted ways with intuitive ontologies. Nevertheless, since the brain is evolved (...)
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  • Innateness and the Sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.
    The concept of innateness is a part of folk wisdom but is also used by biologists and cognitive scientists. This concept has a legitimate role to play in science only if the colloquial usage relates to a coherent body of evidence. We examine many different candidates for the post of scientific successor of the folk concept of innateness. We argue that none of these candidates is entirely satisfactory. Some of the candidates are more interesting and useful than others, but the (...)
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  • The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions.Scott Atran & Joseph Henrich - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (1):18-30.
    Understanding religion requires explaining why supernatural beliefs, devotions, and rituals are both universal and variable across cultures, and why religion is so often associated with both large-scale cooperation and enduring group conflict. Emerging lines of research suggest that these oppositions result from the convergence of three processes. First, the interaction of certain reliably developing cognitive processes, such as our ability to infer the presence of intentional agents, favors—as an evolutionary by-product—the spread of certain kinds of counterintuitive concepts. Second, participation in (...)
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  • The Native Mind: Biological Categorization and Reasoning in Development and Across Cultures.Douglas L. Medin & Scott Atran - 2004 - Psychological Review 111 (4):960-983.
    . This paper describes a cross-cultural and developmental research project on naïve or folk biology, that is, the study of how people conceptualize nature. The combination of domain specificity and cross-cultural comparison brings a new perspective to theories of categorization and reasoning and undermines the tendency to focus on “standard populations.” From the standpoint of mainstream cognitive psychology, we find that results gathered from standard populations in industrialized societies often fail to generalize to humanity at large. For example, similarity-driven typicality (...)
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  • On the Functional Orgins of Essentialism.H. Clark Barrett - 2001 - Mind and Society 2 (1):1-30.
    This essay examines the proposal that psychological essentialism results from a history of natural selection acting on human representation and inference systems. It has been argued that the features that distinguish essentialist representational systems are especially well suited for representing natural kinds. If the evolved function, of essentialism is to exploit the rich inductive potential of such kinds, then it must be subserved by cognitive mechanisms that carry out at least three distinct functions: identifying these kinds in the environment, constructing (...)
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  • Bridging Psychiatric and Anthropological Approaches: The Case of “Nerves” in the United States.Britt Dahlberg, Frances K. Barg, Joseph J. Gallo & Marsha N. Wittink - 2009 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 37 (3):282-313.
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  • Thinking About Biology. Modular Constraints on Categorization and Reasoning in the Everyday Life of Americans, Maya, and Scientists.Scott Atran, Douglas I. Medin & Norbert Ross - 2002 - Mind and Society 3 (2):31-63.
    This essay explores the universal cognitive bases of biological taxonomy and taxonomic inference using cross-cultural experimental work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. A universal, essentialist appreciation of generic species appears as the causal foundation for the taxonomic arrangement of biodiversity, and for inference about the distribution of causally-related properties that underlie biodiversity. Universal folkbiological taxonomy is domain-specific: its structure does not spontaneously or invariably arise in other cognitive domains, like substances, artifacts or persons. It is plausibly an innately-determined (...)
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