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  1.  20
    The Cultural Evolution of Shamanism.Manvir Singh - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
    Shamans, including medicine men, mediums, and the prophets of religious movements, recur across human societies. Shamanism also existed among nearly all documented hunter-gatherers, likely characterized the religious lives of many ancestral humans, and is often proposed by anthropologists to be the “first profession,” representing the first institutionalized division of labor beyond age and sex. In this article, I propose a cultural evolutionary theory to explain why shamanism consistently develops and, in particular, why shamanic traditions exhibit recurrent features around the world; (...)
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  2.  13
    Self-Interest and the Design of Rules.Manvir Singh, Richard Wrangham & Luke Glowacki - 2017 - Human Nature 28 (4):457-480.
    Rules regulating social behavior raise challenging questions about cultural evolution in part because they frequently confer group-level benefits. Current multilevel selection theories contend that between-group processes interact with within-group processes to produce norms and institutions, but within-group processes have remained underspecified, leading to a recent emphasis on cultural group selection as the primary driver of cultural design. Here we present the self-interested enforcement hypothesis, which proposes that the design of rules importantly reflects the relative enforcement capacities of competing parties. We (...)
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  3.  8
    Self-Interested Agents Create, Maintain, and Modify Group-Functional Culture.Manvir Singh, Luke Glowacki & Richard W. Wrangham - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  4. The Sympathetic Plot, Its Psychological Origins, and Implications for the Evolution of Fiction.Manvir Singh - 2021 - Emotion Review 13 (3):183-198.
    The sympathetic plot—featuring a goal-directed protagonist who confronts obstacles, overcomes them, and wins rewards—is ubiquitous. Here, I propose that it recurs because it entertains, engaging two sets of psychological mechanisms. First, it triggers mechanisms for learning about obstacles and how to overcome them. It builds interest by confronting a protagonist with a problem and induces satisfaction when the problem is solved. Second, it evokes sympathetic joy. It establishes the protagonist as an ideal cooperative partner pursuing a goal, appealing to mechanisms (...)
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  5.  10
    Why is There Shamanism? Developing the Cultural Evolutionary Theory and Addressing Alternative Accounts.Manvir Singh - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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