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Justin Barrett [21]Justin L. Barrett [11]
  1. Should CSR Give Atheists Epistemic Assurance? On Beer-Goggles, BFFs, and Skepticism Regarding Religious Beliefs.Justin L. Barrett & Ian M. Church - 2013 - The Monist 96 (3):311-324.
    Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., seeAtran [2002], Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering [2011], Boyer [2001], Guthrie [1993], McCauley [2011], Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position—whether, for example, it lends (...)
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  2. Intellectual Humility.Ian M. Church & Justin Barrett - 2016 - In Everett L. Worthington Jr, Don E. Davis & Joshua N. Hook (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Humility. Springer.
    We critique two popular philosophical definitions of intellectual humility: the “low concern for status” and the “limitations-owning.” accounts. Based upon our analysis, we offer an alternative working definition of intellectual humility: the virtue of accurately tracking what one could non-culpably take to be the positive epistemic status of one’s own beliefs. We regard this view of intellectual humility both as a virtuous mean between intellectual arrogance and diffidence and as having advantages over other recent conceptions of intellectual humility. After defending (...)
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  3. Reformed Epistemology and the Cognitive Science of Religion.Justin L. Barrett - 2010 - Faith and Philosophy 27 (2):174-189.
    Reformed epistemology and cognitive science have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitive science of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will show some remarkable points of convergence, and (...)
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  4.  6
    Spreading Non-Natural Concepts: The Role of Intuitive Conceptual Structures in Memory and Transmission of Cultural Materials.Justin Barrett & Melanie Nyhof - 2001 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 1 (1):69-100.
    The four experiments presented support Boyer's theory that counterintuitive concepts have transmission advantages that account for the commonness and ease of communicating many non-natural cultural concepts. In Experiment 1, 48 American college students recalled expectation-violating items from culturally unfamiliar folk stories better than more mundane items in the stories. In Experiment 2, 52 American college students in a modified serial reproduction task transmitted expectation-violating items in a written narrative more successfully than bizarre or common items. In Experiments 3 and 4, (...)
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  5. Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon.Emma Cohen, Emily Burdett, Nicola Knight & Justin Barrett - 2011 - Cognitive Science 35 (7):1282-1304.
    We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...)
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  6.  98
    Implicit Theories of Intellectual Virtues and Vices: A Focus on Intellectual Humility.Peter L. Samuelson, Matthew J. Jarvinen, Thomas B. Paulus, Ian M. Church, Sam A. Hardy & Justin L. Barrett - 2014 - Journal of Positive Psychology 5 (10):389-406.
    The study of intellectual humility is still in its early stages and issues of definition and measurement are only now being explored. To inform and guide the process of defining and measuring this important intellectual virtue, we conducted a series of studies into the implicit theory – or ‘folk’ understanding – of an intellectually humble person, a wise person, and an intellectually arrogant person. In Study 1, 350 adults used a free-listing procedure to generate a list of descriptors, one for (...)
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  7.  56
    Children's Attributions of Beliefs to Humans and God: Cross‐Cultural Evidence.Nicola Knight, Paulo Sousa, Justin L. Barrett & Scott Atran - 2004 - Cognitive Science 28 (1):117-126.
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  8.  18
    When Minds Migrate: Conceptualizing Spirit Possession.Emma Cohen & Justin Barrett - 2008 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (1-2):23-48.
    To investigate possible cognitive factors influencing the cross-cultural incidence of spirit possession concepts and to develop a more refined understanding of the precise contours of 'intuitive mind-body dualism', two studies were conducted that explored adults' intuitions about the relationship between minds and bodies. Specifically, the studies explored how participants reason about the effects of a hypothetical mind-migration across a range of behaviours. Both studies used hypothetical mind-transfer scenarios in which the mind of one person is transferred into the body of (...)
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  9.  34
    Why Santa Claus is Not a God.Justin Barrett - 2008 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (1-2):149-161.
    Through the lenses of cognitive science of religion, successful god concepts must possess a number of features. God concepts must be counterintuitive, an intentional agent, possessing strategic information, able to act in the human world in detectable ways and capable of motivating behaviors that reinforce belief. That Santa Claus appears to be only inconsistently represented as having all five requisite features Santa has failed to develop a community of true believers and cult. Nevertheless, Santa concepts approximate a successful god concept (...)
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  10. Evil Intuitions? The Problem of Evil, Experimental Philosophy, and the Need for Psychological Research.Ian M. Church, Rebecca Carlson & Justin Barrett - 2021 - Journal of Psychology and Theology 49 (2):126-141.
    The primary aim of this paper is to highlight, at least in short, how the resources of experimental philosophy could be fruitfully applied to the evidential problem of evil. To do this, we will consider two of the most influential and archetypal formulations of the problem: William L. Rowe’s article, “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” (1979). and Paul Draper’s article, “Pain and Pleasure: An Evidential Problem for Theists” (1989). We will consider the relevance of experimental philosophy (...)
     
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  11.  12
    Ritual Intuitions: Cognitive Contributions to Judgments of Ritual Efficacy.Justin Barrett & E. Thomas Lawson - 2001 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 1 (2):183-201.
    Lawson and McCauley have argued that non-cultural regularities in how actions are conceptualized inform and constrain participants' understandings of religious rituals. This theory of ritual competence generates three predictions: 1) People with little or no knowledge of any given ritual system will have intuitions about the potential effectiveness of a ritual given minimal information about the structure of the ritual. 2) The representation of superhuman agency in the action structure will be considered the most important factor contributing to effectiveness. 3) (...)
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  12.  16
    Counterintuitiveness in Folktales: Finding the Cognitive Optimum.Justin Barrett, Emily Reed Burdett & Tenelle Porter - 2009 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (3-4):271-287.
    The present study sought to determine whether Barrett's counterintuitiveness coding and quantifying scheme could be applied to cultural materials with sufficient intercoder reliability, provide evidence concerning just how counterintuitive is too counterintuitive for a concept to be a recurrent cultural idea, and test whether counterintuitive intentional agent concepts are more common in folktales than other classes of counterintuitive concepts. Seventy-three folktales from around the world were sampled from larger collections. Using Barrett's CI-Scheme, two independent coders identified 116 counterintuitive objects and (...)
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  13.  7
    Epistemology and Counterintuitiveness: Role and Relationship in Epidemiology of Cultural Representations.Justin Gregory & Justin Barrett - 2009 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (3-4):289-314.
    Forty-nine members of the Oxford public took part in a controlled free-recall experiment, the first 'minimal counterintuitiveness theory' study to control concept inferential potential and participant selective-attention timing. Recall of counterintuitive ideas was compared with recall of ideas expressing necessary epistemic incongruence, analytically true ideas, and ordinary control ideas. The items expressing necessary epistemic incongruence had better recall than other items. MCI items had a mnemonic advantage over intuitive templates for participants twenty-five years and younger after a one-week delay, but (...)
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  14.  23
    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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  15.  21
    Where the Gods Dwell: A Research Report.Justin L. Barrett, R. Daniel Shaw, Joseph Pfeiffer & Jonathan Grimes - 2019 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (1-2):131-146.
    Are the places that superhuman beings purportedly act and dwell randomly or arbitrarily distributed? Inspired by theoretical work in cognitive science of religion, descriptions of superhuman beings were solicited from informants in 20 countries on five continents, resulting in 108 usable descriptions, including information about these beings’ properties, their dwelling location, and whether they were the target of rituals. Whether superhuman beings are the subject of religious and ritual practices appeared to co-vary in relation to both features of physical geography (...)
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  16.  9
    The Role of Control in Attributing Intentional Agency to Inanimate Objects.Justin Barrett & Amanda Hankes Johnson - 2003 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 3 (3):208-217.
    Previous research into the perception of agency has found that objects in twodimensional displays that move along non-inertial-looking paths are frequently attributed intentional agency, including beliefs and desires. The present experiment re-addressed this finding using a tangible, interactive, electromagnetic puzzle. The experimental manipulation was whether or not participants controlled the electromagnet that moved the marbles along unexpected trajectories. Thirty-one college undergraduates participated. Participants who lacked control over the movement of the marbles were significantly more likely to attribute agency to the (...)
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  17.  77
    The Context of Suffering: Empirical Insights Into the Problem of Evil.Ian M. Church, Isaac Warchol & Justin Barrett - 2022 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 6 (1):1-16.
    While the evidential problem of evil has been enormously influential within the contemporary philosophical literature—William Rowe’s 1979 formulation in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” being the most seminal—no academic research has explored what cognitive mechanisms might underwrite the appearance of pointlessness in target examples of suffering. In this exploratory paper, we show that the perception of pointlessness in the target examples of suffering that underwrite Rowe’s seminal formulation of the problem of evil is contingent on the (...)
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  18.  42
    Counterfactuality in Counterintuitive Religious Concepts.Justin L. Barrett - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):731-732.
    In sketching a preliminary scientific theory of religion, Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) generally agree with cognitive scientists of religion in the factors that coalesce to form religion. At times they misrepresent, however, the notion of “counterintuitive” concepts as they apply to religious concepts, confusing counterintuitive with counterfactual, category mistakes, and logical contradiction.
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  19.  16
    How Ordinary Cognition Informs Petitionary Prayer.Justin Barrett - 2001 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 1 (3):259-269.
    Four studies conducted with American Protestant college students explored intuitions concerning petitionary prayer. Since Protestant theology offers little teaching on through which modes of causation God is most likely to act, it was hypothesized that intuitive causal cognition would be used to generate inferences regarding this aspect of petitionary prayer. Participants in these studies favored asking God to act via psychological causation over the biological and mechanistic domains. Further, in fictitious scenarios participants reported being more likely to ask a supercomputer (...)
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  20.  13
    The Antagonism Between Christianity and Evolution Continues. For Over 100 Years Numerous Anti-Theists Have Bludgeoned Christianity Using Evolution by Natural Selection as a Bat. Christians Have Assailed Evolu-Tionary Theory as Bad Science Advanced Only for Ulterior Motives. Inspired by Observations From Molecular Biology, the Battle has Crested Again in Terms of 'Intelligent Design'versus Unguided Materialist Evolution (Eg, Behe 1996). The End of This Struggle Remains Nowhere in Sight. And Then There's .. [REVIEW]Justin Barrett - 2009 - In Jeffrey Schloss & Michael J. Murray (eds.), The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 76.
  21.  15
    Cognitive Constraints on the Visual Arts: An Empirical Study of the Role of Perceived Intentions in Appreciation Judgements.Jean-Luc Jucker & Justin L. Barrett - 2011 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 11 (1-2):115-136.
    What influences people’s appreciation of works of art? In this paper, we provide a new cognitive approach to this big question, and the first empirical results in support of it. As a work of art typically does not activate intuitive cognition for functional artefacts, it is represented as an instance of non-verbal symbolic communication. By application of Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory of communication, we hypothesize that understanding the artist’s intention plays a crucial role in intuitive art appreciation judgements. About (...)
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  22.  13
    Examining Special Patient Rituals in a Chinese Cultural Context: A Research Report.Ryan G. Hornbeck, Justin L. Barrett & Brianna Bentley - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 15 (5):530-541.
    Is reasoning about religious ritual tethered to ordinary, nonreligious human reasoning about actions? E. Thomas Lawson and Robert N. McCauley’s ritual form hypothesis constitutes a cognitive approach to religious ritual – an explanatory theory that suggests people use ordinary human cognition to make specific predictions about ritual properties, relatively independent of cultural or religious particulars. Few studies assess the credibility ofrfhand further evidence is needed to generalize its predictions across cultures. Towards this end, we assessed culturally Chinese “special patient” rituals (...)
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  23.  9
    Smart Gods, Dumb Gods, and the Role of Social Cognition in Structuring Ritual Intuitions.Justin Barrett - 2002 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 2 (3):183-193.
    Religious activities of the Pomio Kivung people of Melanesia challenges a specific claim of Lawson & McCauley's theory of religious ritual, but does it challenge the general claim that religious rituals are underpinned by ordinary cognitive capacities? To further test the hypothesis that ordinary social cognition informs judgments of religious ritual efficacy, 64 American Protestant college students rated the likelihood of success of a number of fictitious rituals. The within-subjects manipulation was the manner in which a successful ritual was modified, (...)
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  24.  28
    Good Gods Almighty.Justin L. Barrett, R. Daniel Shaw, Joseph Pfeiffer, Jonathan Grimes & Gregory S. Foley - 2019 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (3-4):273-290.
    If “Big Gods” evolved in part because of their ability to morally regulate groups of people who cannot count on kin or reciprocal altruism to get along, then powerful gods would tend to be good gods. If the mechanism for this cooperation is some kind of fear of supernatural punishment, then we may expect that mighty gods tend to be punishing gods. The present study is a statistical analysis of superhuman being concepts from 20 countries on five continents to explore (...)
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  25.  1
    When Seeing Is Not Believing: Children's Understanding of Humans' and Non-Humans' Use of Background Knowledge in Interpreting Visual Displays.Justin Barrett, Roxanne Moore Newman & Rebekah Richert - 2003 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 3 (1):91-108.
    To explore 3- to 7-year-old children's developing understanding of human and non-human minds, a battery of "background knowledge" tasks was administered to 51 American children. The children were asked to speculate about how three other intentional agents would understand various visual displays. First, children answered when they themselves did not understand the displays, then they answered after they had been given information necessary to understand the displays. Results revealed that children begin to understand the role of background knowledge around the (...)
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  26. Can Religious Belief Be Explained Away? Reasons and Causes of Religious Belief.Justin Barrett, David Leech & Aku Visala - 2010 - In Ulrich J. Frey (ed.), The Nature of God ––– Evolution and Religion. Tectum. pp. 1--75.
  27.  3
    Epidemiological and Nativist Accounts in the Cognitive Study of Culture: A Commentary on Pyysiäinen's Innate Fear of Bering's Ghosts.Justin Barrett - 2003 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 3 (3):226-232.
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  28.  9
    Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology.Justin Barrett - 2009 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (1-2):146-147.
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  29.  14
    In Search of 'Folk Anthropology': The Cognitive Anthropology of the Person.Emma Cohen & Justin L. Barrett - 2011 - In J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen & Erik P. Wiebe (eds.), In Search of Self: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Personhood. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. pp. 104--122.
  30.  7
    A Cognitive Typology of Religious Actions.Justin Barrett & Brian Malley - 2007 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 7 (3-4):201-211.
    The rapid but disproportionate growth of the cognitive science of religion in some areas, coupled with the desire to meaningfully connect with more traditional, function-inspired classifications, has left the field with an incomplete and sometimes inconsistent typology of religious and related actions. We address this shortcoming by proposing a systematic typology of counterintuitive actions based on their cognitive representational structures. This typology may serve as the framework of a research program that seeks to establish psychologically, whether each class of events (...)
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  31. Acknowledgment: Guest Reviewers.Phil Agre, Adam Albright, Rick Alterman, Erik Altmann, Jennifer Amsterlaw, William Badecker, Renee Baillargeon, Dale Barr, Justin Barrett & Lawrence Barsalou - 2006 - Cognitive Science 30:1133-1135.
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  32.  1
    The Frog Who Croaked Blue: Synesthesia and the Mixing of the Senses.Justin Barrett - 2009 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 9 (1-2):141-143.
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