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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
Miriam Beisert, Norbert Zmyj, Moritz M Daum
Keven & Akins (K&A) revisit the controversial subject of neonatal imitation through analysing the physiological foundations of neonatal spontaneous behaviour. Consequently, they regard imitative capacities in neonates as unlikely. We welcome this approach as an overdue encouragement to refuse cognitively rich interpretations as far as cognitively lean interpretations are conceivable, and apply this rationale to other phenomena in early childhood development.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Dawoon Choi, Padmapriya Kandhadai, D Kyle Danielson, Alison G Bruderer, Janet F Werker
At the end of the target article, Keven & Akins (K&A) put forward a challenge to the developmental psychology community to consider the development of complex psychological processes - in particular, intermodal infant perception - across different levels of analysis. We take up that challenge and consider the possibility that early emerging stereotypies might help explain the foundations of the link between speech perception and speech production.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Stefano Vincini, Yuna Jhang, Eugene H Buder, Shaun Gallagher
Debates about neonatal imitation remain more open than Keven & Akins (K&A) imply. K&A do not recognize the primacy of the question concerning differential imitation and the links between experimental designs and more or less plausible theoretical assumptions. Moreover, they do not acknowledge previous theorizing on spontaneous behavior, the explanatory power of entrainment, and subtle connections with social cognition.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Klaus Libertus, Melissa E Libertus, Christa Einspieler, Peter B Marschik
Newborns are born into a social environment that dynamically responds to them. Newborn behaviors may not have explicit social intentions but will nonetheless affect the environment. Parents contingently respond to their child, enabling newborns to learn about the consequences of their behaviors and encouraging the behavior itself. Consequently, newborn behaviors may serve both biological and social-cognitive purposes during development.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Shane Zappettini
Keven & Akins (K&A) present a compelling alternative to the case for neonatal orofacial imitation, offered by Meltzoff and Moore. However, they provide little concerning what lessons their proposal has to offer developmental psychology more generally. I suggest three candidates and elaborate on how they raise outstanding methodological and philosophical questions for the approach taken in the target article.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Andrew N Meltzoff
Imitation is central to human development. Imitation involves mapping between the perception and production of actions. Imitation after delays implicates preverbal memory. Imitation of people informs us about infants' processing of social events. A comprehensive theory needs to account for the origins, mechanisms, and functions of imitation. Neonatal imitation illuminates how the initial state engenders and supports rapid social learning.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Susan S Jones
The claim that human newborns imitate is widely accepted and influential. Yet reliable evidence that newborns match modeled behaviors is limited, and there is no empirically based explanation of how the knowledge that imitation requires could develop before birth. In their target article, Keven & Akins (K&A) contribute important new evidence to an alternative account of newborns' matching that challenges the newborn imitation claim.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
David A Booth
Some individuals have a neurogenetic vulnerability to developing strong facilitation of ingestive movements by learned configurations of biosocial stimuli. Condemning food as addictive is mere polemic, ignoring the contextualised sensory control of the mastication of each mouthful. To beat obesity, the least fattening of widely recognised eating patterns needs to be measured and supported.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Siobhan Kennedy-Costantini, Janine Oostenbroek, Thomas Suddendorf, Mark Nielsen, Jonathan Redshaw, Jacqueline Davis, Sally Clark, Virginia Slaughter
Keven & Akins (K&A) propose that neonatal "imitation" is a function of newborns' spontaneous oral stereotypies and should be viewed within the context of normal aerodigestive development. Their proposal is in line with the result of our recent large longitudinal study that found no compelling evidence for neonatal imitation. Together, these works prompt reconsideration of the developmental origin of genuine imitation.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Ruth Campos, Carmen Nieto
Keven & Akins (K&A) redefine some of the neonatal imitation (NI) behaviors as developmental stereotypes. From a neuroconstructivist framework, those early gestures are also far from being considered as imitative behaviors. The cognitive substrate of imitation requires an interactive context to develop. Prior to intentional imitation, the dyad shows mimicry behaviors, which are automatic, but do not fade through development.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Luca Casartelli, Valentina Parma
Keven & Akins (K&A) propose a biologically plausible view of neonatal imitation based on the analysis of sensorimotor development. Here, we consider imitation in the general context of motor cognition, taking examples from both typical and atypical development. Specifically, we will discuss the functional role of imitation, its multi-level nature, and its anomalous features in autism.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Nazim Keven, Kathleen A Akins
In our target article, we argued that the positive results of neonatal imitation are likely to be by-products of normal aerodigestive development. Our hypothesis elicited various responses on the role of social interaction in infancy, the methodological issues about imitation experiments, and the relation between the aerodigestive theory and the development of speech. Here we respond to the commentaries.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Elizabeth A Simpson, Sarah E Maylott, Mikael Heimann, Francys Subiaul, Annika Paukner, Stephen J Suomi, Pier F Ferrari
Empirical studies are incompatible with the proposal that neonatal imitation is arousal driven or declining with age. Nonhuman primate studies reveal a functioning brain mirror system from birth, developmental continuity in imitation and later sociability, and the malleability of neonatal imitation, shaped by the early environment. A narrow focus on arousal effects and reflexes may grossly underestimate neonatal capacities.
January 2017: Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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