21 found
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  1.  70
    The weirdest people in the world?Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.
    Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is (...)
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  2.  39
    The weirdest people in the world?Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.
    Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is (...)
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  3. The cultural evolution of prosocial religions.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39:e1.
    We develop a cultural evolutionary theory of the origins of prosocial religions and apply it to resolve two puzzles in human psychology and cultural history: (1) the rise of large-scale cooperation among strangers and, simultaneously, (2) the spread of prosocial religions in the last 10–12 millennia. We argue that these two developments were importantly linked and mutually energizing. We explain how a package of culturally evolved religious beliefs and practices characterized by increasingly potent, moralizing, supernatural agents, credible displays of faith, (...)
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  4.  88
    Culture and systems of thought: Holistic versus analytic cognition.Richard E. Nisbett, Kaiping Peng, Incheol Choi & Ara Norenzayan - 2001 - Psychological Review 108 (2):291-310.
    The authors find East Asians to be holistic, attending to the entire field and assigning causality to it, making relatively little use of categories and formal logic, and relying on "dialectical" reasoning, whereas Westerners, are more analytic, paying attention primarily to the object and the categories to which it belongs and using rules, including formal logic, to understand its behavior. The 2 types of cognitive processes are embedded in different naive metaphysical systems and tacit epistemologies. The authors speculate that the (...)
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  5. Religion's evolutionary landscape: Counterintuition, commitment, compassion, communion.Scott Atran & Ara Norenzayan - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):713-730.
    Religion is not an evolutionary adaptation per se, but a recurring by-product of the complex evolutionary landscape that sets cognitive, emotional and material conditions for ordinary human interactions. Religion involves extraordinary use of ordinary cognitive processes to passionately display costly devotion to counterintuitive worlds governed by supernatural agents. The conceptual foundations of religion are intuitively given by task-specific panhuman cognitive domains, including folkmechanics, folkbiology, folkpsychology. Core religious beliefs minimally violate ordinary notions about how the world is, with all of its (...)
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  6.  40
    Weighing outcome vs. intent across societies: How cultural models of mind shape moral reasoning.Rita Anne McNamara, Aiyana K. Willard, Ara Norenzayan & Joseph Henrich - 2019 - Cognition 182 (C):95-108.
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  7.  12
    Memory and Mystery: The Cultural Selection of Minimally Counterintuitive Narratives.Ara Norenzayan, Scott Atran, Jason Faulkner & Mark Schaller - 2006 - Cognitive Science 30 (3):531-553.
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  8.  14
    Cognitive biases explain religious belief, paranormal belief, and belief in life’s purpose.Aiyana K. Willard & Ara Norenzayan - 2013 - Cognition 129 (2):379-391.
  9.  11
    The origins of religious disbelief.Ara Norenzayan & Will M. Gervais - 2013 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (1):20-25.
  10.  10
    Cultural preferences for formal versus intuitive reasoning.Ara Norenzayan, Edward E. Smith, Beom Jun Kim & Richard E. Nisbett - 2002 - Cognitive Science 26 (5):653-684.
    The authors examined cultural preferences for formal versus intuitive reasoning among East Asian (Chinese and Korean), Asian American, and European American university students. We investigated categorization (Studies 1 and 2), conceptual structure (Study 3), and deductive reasoning (Studies 3 and 4). In each study a cognitive conflict was activated between formal and intuitive strategies of reasoning. European Americans, more than Chinese and Koreans, set aside intuition in favor of formal reasoning. Conversely, Chinese and Koreans relied on intuitive strategies more than (...)
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  11.  32
    Parochial prosocial religions: Historical and contemporary evidence for a cultural evolutionary process.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
    In our response to the 27 commentaries, we refine the theoretical claims, clarify several misconceptions of our framework, and explore substantial disagreements. In doing so, we show that our framework accommodates multiple historical scenarios; debate the historical evidence, particularly about “pre-Axial” religions; offer important details about cultural evolutionary theory; clarify the termprosociality;and discuss proximal mechanisms. We review many interesting extensions, amplifications, and qualifications of our approach made by the commentators.
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  12.  19
    Memory and Belief in the Transmission of Counterintuitive Content.Aiyana K. Willard, Joseph Henrich & Ara Norenzayan - 2016 - Human Nature 27 (3):221-243.
    Cognitive scientists have increasingly turned to cultural transmission to explain the widespread nature of religion. One key hypothesis focuses on memory, proposing that that minimally counterintuitive (MCI) content facilitates the transmission of supernatural beliefs. We propose two caveats to this hypothesis. (1) Memory effects decrease as MCI concepts become commonly used, and (2) people do not believe counterintuitive content readily; therefore additional mechanisms are required to get from memory to belief. In experiments 1–3 (n = 283), we examined the relationship (...)
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  13.  35
    “Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs.Aiyana K. Willard & Ara Norenzayan - 2017 - Cognition 165 (C):137-146.
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  14.  18
    Cognitive Pathways to Belief in Karma and Belief in God.Cindel J. M. White, Aiyana K. Willard, Adam Baimel & Ara Norenzayan - 2021 - Cognitive Science 45 (1):e12935.
    Supernatural beliefs are ubiquitous around the world, and mounting evidence indicates that these beliefs partly rely on intuitive, cross‐culturally recurrent cognitive processes. Specifically, past research has focused on humans' intuitive tendency to perceive minds as part of the cognitive foundations of belief in a personified God—an agentic, morally concerned supernatural entity. However, much less is known about belief in karma—another culturally widespread but ostensibly non‐agentic supernatural entity reflecting ethical causation across reincarnations. In two studies and four high‐powered samples, including mostly (...)
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  15. Why we believe : religion as a human universal.Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - In Henrik Høgh-Olesen (ed.), Human morality and sociality: evolutionary and comparative perspectives. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
     
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  16. Culture and cognition.Richard E. Nisbett & Ara Norenzayan - 2002 - In J. Wixted & H. Pashler (eds.), Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology. Wiley.
  17.  17
    The evolution of religious misbelief.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Ryan T. McKay & Daniel C. Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):531.
    Inducing religious thoughts increases prosocial behavior among strangers in anonymous contexts. These effects can be explained both by behavioral priming processes as well as by reputational mechanisms. We examine whether belief in moralizing supernatural agents supplies a case for what McKay & Dennett (M&D) call evolved misbelief, concluding that they might be more persuasively seen as an example of culturally evolved misbelief.
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  18. How is analytical thinking related to religious belief? A test of three theoretical models.Adam Baimel, Cindel J. M. White, Hagop Sarkissian & Ara Norenzayan - 2021 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 11 (3):239-260.
    The replicability and importance of the correlation between cognitive style and religious belief have been debated. Moreover, the literature has not examined distinct psychological accounts of this relationship. We tested the replicability of the correlation (N = 5284; students and broader samples of Canadians, Americans, and Indians); while testing three accounts of how cognitive style comes to be related to belief in God, karma, witchcraft, and to the belief that religion is necessary for morality. The first, the dual process model, (...)
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  19.  9
    Why minds create gods: Devotion, deception, death, and arational decision making.Scott Atran & Ara Norenzayan - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):754-770.
    The evolutionary landscape that canalizes human thought and behavior into religious beliefs and practices includes naturally selected emotions, cognitive modules, and constraints on social interactions. Evolutionary by-products, including metacognitive awareness of death and possibilities for deception, further channel people into religious paths. Religion represents a community's costly commitment to a counterintuitive world of supernatural agents who manage people's existential anxieties. Religious devotion, though not an adaptation, informs all cultures and most people.
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  20.  2
    Cultural variation in reasoning.Ara Norenzayan - 2006 - In Riccardo Viale, Daniel Andler & Lawrence Hirschfeld (eds.), Biological and cultural bases of human inference. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawerence Erlbaum. pp. 71--95.
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  21. Does religion make people moral?Ara Norenzayan - 2014 - In Frans B. M. De Waal, Patricia Smith Churchland, Telmo Pievani & Stefano Parmigiani (eds.), Evolved Morality: The Biology and Philosophy of Human Conscience. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
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