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  1. A Cultural Species and its Cognitive Phenotypes: Implications for Philosophy.Joseph Henrich, Damián E. Blasi, Cameron M. Curtin, Helen Elizabeth Davis, Ze Hong, Daniel Kelly & Ivan Kroupin - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (2):349-386.
    After introducing the new field of cultural evolution, we review a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting that culture shapes what people attend to, perceive and remember as well as how they think, feel and reason. Focusing on perception, spatial navigation, mentalizing, thinking styles, reasoning (epistemic norms) and language, we discuss not only important variation in these domains, but emphasize that most researchers (including philosophers) and research participants are psychologically peculiar within a global and historical context. This rising tide of (...)
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  2.  12
    The Cultural Evolution of Epistemic Practices.Ze Hong & Joseph Henrich - 2021 - Human Nature 32 (3):622-651.
    Although a substantial literature in anthropology and comparative religion explores divination across diverse societies and back into history, little research has integrated the older ethnographic and historical work with recent insights on human learning, cultural transmission, and cognitive science. Here we present evidence showing that divination practices are often best viewed as an epistemic technology, and we formally model the scenarios under which individuals may overestimate the efficacy of divination that contribute to its cultural omnipresence and historical persistence. We found (...)
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  3.  11
    Dream Interpretation from a Cognitive and Cultural Evolutionary Perspective: The Case of Oneiromancy in Traditional China.Ze Hong - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (1):e13088.
    Cognitive Science, Volume 46, Issue 1, January 2022.
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  4.  8
    Ghosts, Divination, and Magic among the Nuosu: An Ethnographic Examination from Cognitive and Cultural Evolutionary Perspectives.Ze Hong - 2022 - Human Nature 33 (4):349-379.
    I present a detailed ethnographic study of magic and divination of the Nuosu people in southwest China and offer a cognitive account of the surprising prevalence of these objectively ineffective practices in a society that has ample access to modern technology and mainstream Han culture. I argue that in the belief system of the Nuosu, ghosts, divination, and magical healing rituals form a closely interconnected web that gives sense and meaning to otherwise puzzling practices, and such a belief system is (...)
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  5.  4
    The Cultural Evolution of Medical Technologies.Ze Hong - 2023 - Human Nature 34 (1):64-87.
    When people get ill, they naturally want to restore health through medical interventions. Here I model a situation in which individuals can psychologically entertain multiple potential treatments at once: when illness occurs, individuals would attempt one treatment first, and if it fails to produce an observable effect within a particular time period, a second treatment is attempted, and the eventual recovery is attributed to the treatment that is temporally closer. This creates population dynamics wherein the therapeutic power of the superior/effective (...)
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  6.  13
    The Evolution of Inclusive Folk-Biological Labels and the Cultural Maintenance of Meaning.Ze Hong - 2023 - Human Nature 34 (2):177-201.
    How is word meaning established, and how do individuals acquire it? What ensures the uniform understanding of word meaning in a linguistic community? In this paper I draw from cultural attraction theory and use folk biology as an example domain and address these questions by treating meaning acquisition as an inferential process. I show that significant variation exists in how individuals understand the meaning of inclusive biological labels such as “plant” and “animal” due to variation in their salience in contemporary (...)
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  7.  5
    Combining Conformist and Payoff Bias in Cultural Evolution.Ze Hong - 2022 - Human Nature 33 (4):463-484.
    Most research on transmission biases in cultural evolution has treated different biases as distinct strategies. Here I present a model that combines both frequency dependent bias (including conformist bias) and payoff bias in a single decision-making calculus and show that such an integrated learning strategy may be superior to relying on either bias alone. Natural selection may operate on humans’ relative dependence on frequency and payoff information, but both are likely to contribute to the spread of variants with high payoffs. (...)
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  8.  4
    The ritual stance does not apply to magic in general.Ze Hong - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e258.
    Contrary to the author's proposed classification scheme, I argue that most magical practices are better viewed as “instrumental” rather than “ritualistic.” Much ethnographic and historical evidence shows that magicians and ritual experts often have elaborate causal theories regarding how magic actions lead to the putative outcome, and the “physical/mechanical” versus “supernatural” distinction in causal mechanisms needs serious reconsideration.
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  9.  3
    The value of sociogenomics in understanding genetic evolution in contemporary human populations.Ze Hong - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e217.
    Burt's target article oddly misses the important intellectual contribution of sociogenomics to our understanding of genetic evolution in contemporary human populations. Although social scientists' immediate research agendas are often not evolutionary in nature, I call for a better appreciation of the role of sociogenomics in answering important evolutionary questions.
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  10.  8
    The Relationship Between Children and Their Maternal Uncles: A Unique Parenting Mode in Mosuo Culture.Erping Xiao, Jing Jin, Ze Hong & Jijia Zhang - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    The relationship between children and their maternal uncles in contemporary Mosuo culture reveals a unique parenting mode in a matrilineal society. This study compared the responses of Mosuo and Han participants from questionnaires on the parent–child and maternal uncle–child relationship. More specifically, Study 1 used Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment to assess the reactions of the two groups to the relationship between children and their mothers, fathers, and maternal uncles. The results show that while Han people display a higher (...)
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