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Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Rolf A Zwaan, Alexander Etz, Richard E Lucas, M Brent Donnellan
Many philosophers of science and methodologists have argued that the ability to repeat studies and obtain similar results is an essential component of science. A finding is elevated from single observation to scientific evidence when the procedures that were used to obtain it can be reproduced and the finding itself can be replicated. Recent replication attempts show that some high profile results---most notably in psychology, but in many other disciplines as well---cannot be replicated consistently. These replication attempts have generated a considerable amount of controversy and the issue of whether direct replications have value has, in particular, proven to be contentious...
October 25, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Pascal Boyer, Michael Bang Petersen
The domain of "folk-economics" consists in explicit beliefs about the economy held by laypeople, untrained in economics, about such topics as e.g., the causes of the wealth of nations, the benefits or drawbacks of markets and international trade, the effects of regulation, the origins of inequality, the connection between work and wages, the economic consequences of immigration, or the possible causes of unemployment. These beliefs are crucial in forming people's political beliefs, and in shaping their reception of different policies...
October 12, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
P Kyle Stanford
A range of empirical findings are first used to more precisely characterize our distinctive tendency to objectify or externalize moral demands, and it is then argued that this salient feature of our moral cognition represents a profound puzzle for evolutionary approaches to human moral psychology that existing proposals do not help to resolve. It is then proposed that such externalization facilitated a broader shift to a vastly more cooperative form of social life by establishing and maintaining a connection between the extent to which an agent is herself motivated by a given moral norm and the extent to which she uses conformity to that same norm as a criterion in evaluating candidate partners in social interaction generally...
July 6, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Manvir Singh
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. This paper proposes a cultural evolutionary theory to explain why shamanism consistently develops, and in particular, (1) why shamanic traditions exhibit recurrent features around the world, (2) why shamanism professionalizes early, often in the absence of other specialization, and (3) how shifting social conditions affect the form or existence of shamanism...
July 6, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Winfried Menninghaus, Valentin Wagner, Julian Hanich, Eugen Wassiliwizky, Thomas Jacobsen, Stefan Koelsch
Why are negative emotions so central in art reception far beyond tragedy? Revisiting classical aesthetics in light of recent psychological research, we present a novel model to explain this much-discussed (apparent) paradox. We argue that negative emotions are an important resource for the arts in general rather than a special license for exceptional art forms only. The underlying rationale is that negative emotions have been shown to be particularly powerful in securing attention, intense emotional involvement, and high memorability-and hence precisely in what artworks strive for...
February 20, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Johannes Mahr, Gergely Csibra
Episodic memory has been analyzed in a number of different ways in both philosophy and psychology, and most controversy has centered on its self-referential, 'autonoetic' character. Here, we offer a comprehensive characterization of episodic memory in representational terms, and propose a novel functional account on this basis. We argue that episodic memory should be understood as a distinctive epistemic attitude taken towards an event simulation. On this view, episodic memory has a metarepresentational format and should not be equated with beliefs about the past...
January 19, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Gillian V Pepper, Daniel Nettle
Socioeconomic differences in behaviour are pervasive and well documented, but their causes are not yet well understood. Here, we make the case that there is a cluster of behaviours associated with lower socioeconomic status, which we call the behavioural constellation of deprivation. We propose that the relatively limited control associated with lower socioeconomic status curtails the extent to which people can expect to realise deferred rewards, leading to more present-oriented behaviour in a range of domains...
January 11, 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Bogdan Neagota, Ileana Benga, Oana Benga
The integration of the folk affect concept of "contempt" into the analysis of the complex institution known generally as charivari is mutually beneficial for both ethno-anthropology (which may thus access inner causes for disputed social and collective behaviors) and evolutionary psychology (which may thus study the length of tradition together with the width of the institution spread, serving the same social functions).
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Gavin Brent Sullivan
Sentiment includes emotional and enduring attitudinal features of contempt, but explaining contempt as a mixture of basic emotion system affects does not adequately address the family resemblance structure of the concept. Adding forms of individual, group-based, and widely shared arrogance and contempt is necessary to capture the complex mixed feelings of proud superiority when "looking down upon" and acting harshly towards others.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Michelle Mason
Gervais & Fessler's defense of a sentiment construct for contempt captures features distinguishing the phenomenon from basic emotions and highlights the fact that it comprises a coordinated syndrome of responses. However, their conceptualization of contempt as the absence of respect equivocates. Consequently, a "dignity" culture that prescribes respect does not thereby limit legitimate contempt in the manner the authors claim.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Michael E W Varnum, Igor Grossmann
Gervais & Fessler argue that the perceived legitimacy of contempt has declined over time in the United States, citing evidence of a decrease in the frequency of its use in the American English corpus. We argue that this decline in contempt, as reflected in cultural products, is linked to shifts in key socioecological features previously associated with other forms of cultural change.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Aaron C Weidman, Jessica L Tracy
Gervais & Fessler reintroduce the concept of a sentiment as a framework for conceptualizing contempt, a construct with both attitudinal and emotional components. We propose that humility might also fit this mold. We review recent findings regarding the antecedents, phenomenology, and functional consequences of humility, and discuss why conceptualizing it as a sentiment may advance our understanding of this construct.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Matthew M Gervais, Daniel M T Fessler
The target article argues that contempt is a sentiment, and that sentiments are the deep structure of social affect. The 26 commentaries meet these claims with a range of exciting extensions and applications, as well as critiques. Most significantly, we reply that construction and emergence are necessary for, not incompatible with, evolved design, while parsimony requires explanatory adequacy and predictive accuracy, not mere simplicity.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
James E Swain, S Shaun Ho
Insensitive parental thoughts and affect, similar to contempt, may be mapped onto a network of basic emotions moderated by attitudinal representations of social-relational value. Brain mechanisms that reflect emotional valence of baby signals among parents vary according to individual differences and show plasticity over time. Furthermore, mental health problems and treatments for parents may affect these brain systems toward or away from contempt, respectively.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Victoria L Spring, C Daryl Cameron, Kurt Gray, Kristen A Lindquist
Gervais & Fessler argue that contempt is a natural kind and that its experience cannot be explained by a constructionist account of emotion. We dispute these claims and offer a positive constructionist model of contempt that accounts for the existing evidence and unifies conflicting findings in the literature on contempt.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Alessandro Grecucci, Jon Frederickson, Remo Job
Gervais & Fessler argue that contempt is an attitude state defined as a lack of respect that potentiates the activation and deactivation of two different clusters of emotions. However, clinical and experimental findings do not support this view. We provide evidence that contempt is not an emotion, nor an attitude, but a reactive defensive mechanism evolved to help individuals avoid shame.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Nick Haslam
"Sentiment" is a potentially appealing concept for social and personality psychologists. It can render some complex affective phenomena theoretically tractable, help refine accounts of social perception, and illuminate some personality dispositions. The success of a future sentimental psychology depends on whether "sentiment" can be delimited as a distinct domain, and whether a credible classification of sentiments can be developed.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Danilo Bzdok, Leonhard Schilbach
"Contempt" is proposed to be a unique aspect of human nature, yet a non-natural kind. Its psychological construct is framed as a sentiment emerging from a stratification of diverse basic emotions and dispositional attitudes. Accordingly, "contempt" might transcend traditional conceptual levels in social psychology, including experience and recognition of emotion, dyadic and group dynamics, context-conditioned attitudes, time-enduring personality structure, and morality. This strikes us as a modern psychological account of a high-level, social-affective cognitive facet that joins forces with recent developments in the social neuroscience by drawing psychological conclusions from brain biology...
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
René Hurlemann, Nina Marsh, Johannes Schultz, Dirk Scheele
The phylogenetically ancient neuropeptide oxytocin has been linked to a plethora of social behaviors. Here, we argue that the action of oxytocin is not restricted to the downstream level of emotional responses, but substantially alters higher representations of attitudes and values by exerting a distant modulatory influence on cortical areas and their reciprocal interplay with subcortical regions and hormonal systems.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Sara Dellantonio, Luigi Pastore, Gianluca Esposito
In the Attitude-Scenario-Emotion (ASE) model, social relationships are subpersonnally realized by sentiments: a network of emotions/attitudes representing relational values. We discuss how relational values differ from moral values and raise the issue of their ontogeny from genetic and cultural factors. Because relational values develop early in life, they cannot rely solely on cognition as suggested by the notion of attitude.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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