33 found
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  1. Partner choice, fairness, and the extension of morality.Nicolas Baumard, Jean-Baptiste André & Dan Sperber - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):102-122.
    Our discussion of the commentaries begins, at the evolutionary level, with issues raised by our account of the evolution of morality in terms of partner-choice mutualism. We then turn to the cognitive level and the characterization and workings of fairness. In a final section, we discuss the degree to which our fairness-based approach to morality extends to norms that are commonly considered moral even though they are distinct from fairness.
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  2.  86
    Moral Reputation: An Evolutionary and Cognitive Perspective.Dan Sperber & Nicolas Baumard - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (5):495-518.
    From an evolutionary point of view, the function of moral behaviour may be to secure a good reputation as a co-operator. The best way to do so may be to obey genuine moral motivations. Still, one's moral reputation maybe something too important to be entrusted just to one's moral sense. A robust concern for one's reputation is likely to have evolved too. Here we explore some of the complex relationships between morality and reputation both from an evolutionary and a cognitive (...)
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  3.  21
    The Origins of Fairness: How Evolution Explains Our Moral Nature.Nicolas Baumard - 2016 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press USA.
    In order to describe the logic of morality, "contractualist" philosophers have studied how individuals behave when they choose to follow their moral intuitions. These individuals, contractualists note, often act as if they have bargained and thus reached an agreement with others about how to distribute the benefits and burdens of mutual cooperation. Using this observation, such philosophers argue that the purpose of morality is to maximize the benefits of human interaction. The resulting "contract" analogy is both insightful and puzzling. On (...)
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  4.  31
    ‘Our Roots Run Deep’: Historical Myths as Culturally Evolved Technologies for Coalitional Recruitment.Amine Sijilmassi, Lou Safra & Nicolas Baumard - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences:1-44.
    One of the most remarkable manifestations of social cohesion in large-scale entities is the belief in a shared, distinct and ancestral past. Human communities around the world take pride in their ancestral roots, commemorate their long history of shared experiences, and celebrate the distinctiveness of their historical trajectory. Why do humans put so much effort into celebrating a long-gone past? Integrating insights from evolutionary psychology, social psychology, evolutionary anthropology, political science, cultural history and political economy, we show that the cultural (...)
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  5.  91
    Explaining moral religions.Nicolas Baumard & Pascal Boyer - 2013 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (6):272-280.
  6.  58
    Has punishment played a role in the evolution of cooperation? A critical review.Nicolas Baumard - 2010 - Mind and Society 9 (2):171-192.
    In the past decade, experiments on altruistic punishment have played a central role in the study of the evolution of cooperation. By showing that people are ready to incur a cost to punish cheaters and that punishment help to stabilise cooperation, these experiments have greatly contributed to the rise of group selection theory. However, despite its experimental robustness, it is not clear whether altruistic punishment really exists. Here, I review the anthropological literature and show that hunter-gatherers rarely punish cheaters. Instead, (...)
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  7.  34
    Punishment is not a group adaptation.Nicolas Baumard - 2011 - Mind and Society 10 (1):1-26.
    Punitive behaviours are often assumed to be the result of an instinct for punishment. This instinct would have evolved to punish wrongdoers and it would be the evidence that cooperation has evolved by group selection. Here, I propose an alternative theory according to which punishment is a not an adaptation and that there was no specific selective pressure to inflict costs on wrongdoers in the ancestral environment. In this theory, cooperation evolved through partner choice for mutual advantage. In the ancestral (...)
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  8.  31
    Why imaginary worlds? The psychological foundations and cultural evolution of fictions with imaginary worlds.Edgar Dubourg & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e276.
    Imaginary worlds are extremely successful. The most popular fictions produced in the last few decades contain such a fictional world. They can be found in all fictional media, from novels (e.g., Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter) to films (e.g., Star Wars and Avatar), video games (e.g., The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy), graphic novels (e.g., One Piece and Naruto), and TV series (e.g., Star Trek and Game of Thrones), and they date as far back as ancient literature (...)
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  9.  17
    Why and How Did Narrative Fictions Evolve? Fictions as Entertainment Technologies.Edgar Dubourg & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13:786770.
    Narrative fictions have surely become the single most widespread source of entertainment in the world. In their free time, humans read novels and comics, watch movies and TV series, and play video games: they consume stories that they know to be false. Such behaviors are expanding at lightning speed in modern societies. Yet, the question of the origin of fictions has been an evolutionary puzzle for decades: Are fictions biological adaptations, or the by-products of cognitive mechanisms that evolved for another (...)
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  10.  54
    Partner choice, fairness, and the extension of morality.Nicolas Baumard, Jean-Baptiste André & Dan Sperber - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):102-122.
    Our discussion of the commentaries begins, at the evolutionary level, with issues raised by our account of the evolution of morality in terms of partner-choice mutualism. We then turn to the cognitive level and the characterization and workings of fairness. In a final section, we discuss the degree to which our fairness-based approach to morality extends to norms that are commonly considered moral even though they are distinct from fairness.
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  11.  52
    Psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution.Nicolas Baumard - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42:1-47.
    Since the Industrial Revolution, human societies have experienced high and sustained rates of economic growth. Recent explanations of this sudden and massive change in economic history have held that modern growth results from an acceleration of innovation. But it is unclear why the rate of innovation drastically accelerated in England in the eighteenth century. An important factor might be the alteration of individual preferences with regard to innovation resulting from the unprecedented living standards of the English during that period, for (...)
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  12.  41
    Weird people, yes, but also weird experiments.Nicolas Baumard & Dan Sperber - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):84-85.
    Henrich et al.’s article fleshes out in a very useful and timely manner comments often heard but rarely published about the extraordinary cultural imbalance in the recruitment of participants in psychology experiments and the doubt this casts on generalization of findings from these “weird” samples to humans in general. The authors mention that one of the concerns they have met in defending their views has been of a methodological nature: “the observed variation across populations may be due to various methodological (...)
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  13.  33
    The evolution of music: One trait, many ultimate-level explanations.Edgar Dubourg, Jean-Baptiste André & Nicolas Baumard - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    We propose an approach reconciling the ultimate-level explanations proposed by Savage et al. and Mehr et al. as to why music evolved. We also question the current adaptationist view of culture, which too often fails to disentangle distinct fitness benefits.
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  14.  40
    What Goes Around Comes Around: The Evolutionary Roots of the Belief in Immanent Justice.Nicolas Baumard & Coralie Chevallier - 2012 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 12 (1-2):67-80.
    The belief in immanent justice is the expectation that the universe is designed to ensure that evil is punished and virtue rewarded. What makes this belief so ‘natural’? Here, we suggest that this intuition of immanent justice derives from our evolved sense of fairness. In cases where a misdeed is followed by a misfortune, our sense of fairness construes the misfortune as a way to compensate for the misdeed. To test this hypothesis, we designed a set of studies in which (...)
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  15.  24
    Moral disciplining: The cognitive and evolutionary foundations of puritanical morality.Léo Fitouchi, Jean-Baptiste André & Nicolas Baumard - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e293.
    Why do many societies moralize apparently harmless pleasures, such as lust, gluttony, alcohol, drugs, and even music and dance? Why do they erect temperance, asceticism, sobriety, modesty, and piety as cardinal moral virtues? According to existing theories, this puritanical morality cannot be reduced to concerns for harm and fairness: It must emerge from cognitive systems that did not evolve for cooperation (e.g., disgust-based “purity” concerns). Here, we argue that, despite appearances, puritanical morality is no exception to the cooperative function of (...)
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  16.  4
    When instrumental inference hides behind seemingly arbitrary conventions.Edgar Dubourg, Léo Fitouchi & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e256.
    We review recent evidence that game rules, rules of etiquette, and supernatural beliefs, that the authors see as “ritualistic” conventions, are in fact shaped by instrumental inference. In line with such examples, we contend that cultural practices that may appear, from the outside, to be devoid of instrumental utility, could in fact be selectively acquired and preserved because of their perceived utility.
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  17. Surveillance cues enhance moral condemnation.Pierrick Bourrat, Nicolas Baumard & Ryan McKay - 2011 - Evolutionary Psychology 9 (2):193-199.
    Humans pay close attention to the reputational consequences of their actions. Recent experiments indicate that even very subtle cues that one is being observed can affect cooperative behaviors. Expressing our opinions about the morality of certain acts is a key means of advertising our cooperative dispositions. Here, we investigated how subtle cues of being watched would affect moral judgments. We predicted that participants exposed to such cues would affirm their endorsement of prevailing moral norms by expressing greater disapproval of moral (...)
     
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  18.  18
    Psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution: More work is needed!Nicolas Baumard - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
    I am grateful to have received so many stimulating commentaries from interested colleagues regarding the psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution and the role of evolutionary theory in understanding historical phenomena. Commentators criticized, extended, and explored the implications of the perspective I presented, and I wholeheartedly agree with many commentaries that more work is needed. In this response, I thus focus on what is needed to further test the psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution. Specifically, I argue, in agreement with (...)
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  19.  15
    Cultural technologies for peace may have shaped our social cognition.Amine Sijilmassi, Lou Safra & Nicolas Baumard - 2024 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 47:e28.
    Peace, the article shows, is achieved by culturally evolved institutions that incentivize positive-sum relationships. We propose that this insight has important consequences for the design of human social cognition. Cues that signal the existence of such institutions should play a prominent role in detecting group membership. We show how this accounts for previous findings and suggest avenues for future research.
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  20. The restorative logic of punishment: Another argument in favor of weak selection.Nicolas Baumard & Francesco Guala - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):17.
    Strong reciprocity theorists claim that punishment has evolved to promote the good of the group and to deter cheating. By contrast, weak reciprocity suggests that punishment aims to restore justice (i.e., reciprocity) between the criminal and his victim. Experimental evidences as well as field observations suggest that humans punish criminals to restore fairness rather than to support group cooperation.
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  21.  26
    The puritanical moral contract: Purity, cooperation, and the architecture of the moral mind.Léo Fitouchi, Jean-Baptiste André & Nicolas Baumard - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e322.
    Commentators raise fundamental questions about the notion of purity (sect. R1), the architecture of moral cognition (sect. R2), the functional relationship between morality and cooperation (sect. R3), the role of folk-theories of self-control in moral judgment (sect. R4), and the cultural variation of morality (sect. R5). In our response, we address all these issues by clarifying our theory of puritanism, responding to counter-arguments, and incorporating welcome corrections and extensions.
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  22.  16
    Both collection risk and waiting costs give rise to the behavioral constellation of deprivation.Hugo Mell, Nicolas Baumard & Jean-Baptiste André - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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  23.  13
    Climate is not a good candidate to account for variations in aggression and violence across space and time.Hugo Mell, Lou Safra, Nicolas Baumard & Pierre O. Jacquet - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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  24.  18
    Reciprocal contracts – not competitive acquisition – explain the moral psychology of ownership.Jean-Baptiste André, Léo Fitouchi & Nicolas Baumard - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e324.
    We applaud Boyer's attempt to ground the psychology of ownership partly in a cooperative logic. In this commentary, we propose to go further and ground the psychology of ownership solely in a cooperative logic. The predictions of bargaining theory, we argue, completely contradict the actual features of ownership intuitions. Ownership is only about the calculation of mutually beneficial, reciprocal contracts.
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  25.  24
    Projecting WEIRD features on ancient religions.Pascal Boyer & Nicolas Baumard - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  26.  12
    For public policies, our evolved psychology is the problem and the solution.Nicolas Baumard - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (4):418-419.
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  27.  25
    Fairness, more than any other cognitive mechanism, is what explains the content of folk-economic beliefs.Nicolas Baumard, Coralie Chevallier & Jean-Baptiste André - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  28.  14
    Increased affluence, life history theory, and the decline of shamanism.Nicolas Baumard - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  29.  11
    Imaginary worlds through the evolutionary lens: Ultimate functions, proximate mechanisms, cultural distribution.Edgar Dubourg & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e309.
    We received several commentaries both challenging and supporting our hypothesis. We thank the commentators for their thoughtful contributions, bringing together alternative hypotheses, complementary explanations, and appropriate corrections to our model. Here, we explain further our hypothesis, using more explicitly the framework of evolutionary social sciences. We first explain what we believe is the ultimate function of fiction in general (i.e., entertainment) and how this hypothesis differs from other evolutionary hypotheses put forward by several commentators. We then turn to the proximate (...)
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  30.  8
    When instrumental inference hides behind seemingly arbitrary conventions—CORRIGENDUM.Edgar Dubourg, Léo Fitouchi & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e310.
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  31.  10
    How to Develop Reliable Instruments to Measure the Cultural Evolution of Preferences and Feelings in History?Mauricio de Jesus Dias Martins & Nicolas Baumard - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    While we cannot directly measure the psychological preferences of individuals, and the moral, emotional, and cognitive tendencies of people from the past, we can use cultural artifacts as a window to the zeitgeist of societies in particular historical periods. At present, an increasing number of digitized texts spanning several centuries is available for a computerized analysis. In addition, developments form historical economics have enabled increasingly precise estimations of sociodemographic realities from the past. Crossing these datasets offer a powerful tool to (...)
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  32.  10
    Biological markets explain human ultrasociality.Mark Sheskin, Stéphane Lambert & Nicolas Baumard - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  33.  57
    The needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the few: The limits of individual sacrifice across diverse cultures.Mark Sheskin, Coralie Chevallier, Kuniko Adachi, Renatas Berniūnas, Thomas Castelain, Martin Hulín, Hillary Lenfesty, Denis Regnier, Anikó Sebestény & Nicolas Baumard - 2018 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 18 (1-2):205-223.
    A long tradition of research in WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) countries has investigated how people weigh individual welfare versus group welfare in their moral judgments. Relatively less research has investigated the generalizability of results across non-WEIRD populations. In the current study, we ask participants across nine diverse cultures (Bali, Costa Rica, France, Guatemala, Japan, Madagascar, Mongolia, Serbia, and the USA) to make a series of moral judgments regarding both third-party sacrifice for group welfare and first-person sacrifice for group (...)
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