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Daniel M. T. Fessler [26]Daniel Fessler [6]Daniel Mt Fessler [6]
  1. Harm, affect, and the moral/conventional distinction.Daniel Kelly, Stephen Stich, Kevin J. Haley, Serena J. Eng & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (2):117–131.
  2. Small-scale societies exhibit fundamental variation in the role of intentions in moral judgment.H. Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel M. T. Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, Martin Kanovsky, Geoff Kushnick, Anne Pisor, Brooke A. Scelza, Stephen Stich, Chris von Rueden, Wanying Zhao & Stephen Laurence - 2016 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (17):4688–4693.
    Intent and mitigating circumstances play a central role in moral and legal assessments in large-scale industrialized societies. Al- though these features of moral assessment are widely assumed to be universal, to date, they have only been studied in a narrow range of societies. We show that there is substantial cross-cultural variation among eight traditional small-scale societies (ranging from hunter-gatherer to pastoralist to horticulturalist) and two Western societies (one urban, one rural) in the extent to which intent and mitigating circumstances influence (...)
     
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  3.  11
    Shame in Two Cultures: Implications for Evolutionary Approaches.Daniel Fessler - 2004 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 4 (2):207-262.
    Cross-cultural comparisons can a) illuminate the manner in which cultures differentially highlight, ignore, and group various facets of emotional experience, and b) shed light on our evolved species-typical emotional architecture. In many societies, concern with shame is one of the principal factors regulating social behavior. Three studies conducted in Bengkulu and California explored the nature and experience of shame in two disparate cultures. Study 1, perceived term use frequency, indicated that shame is more prominent in Bengkulu, a collectivistic culture, than (...)
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  4.  34
    Kinship intensity and the use of mental states in moral judgment across societies.Cameron M. Curtin, H. Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Martin Kanovsky, Stephen Laurence, Anne Pisor, Brooke Scelza, Stephen Stich, Chris von Rueden & Joseph Henrich - forthcoming - Evolution and Human Behavior.
    Decades of research conducted in Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, & Democratic (WEIRD) societies have led many scholars to conclude that the use of mental states in moral judgment is a human cognitive universal, perhaps an adaptive strategy for selecting optimal social partners from a large pool of candidates. However, recent work from a more diverse array of societies suggests there may be important variation in how much people rely on mental states, with people in some societies judging accidental harms just (...)
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  5. Varying versions of moral relativism: the philosophy and psychology of normative relativism.Katinka J. P. Quintelier & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):95-113.
    Among naturalist philosophers, both defenders and opponents of moral relativism argue that prescriptive moral theories (or normative theories) should be constrained by empirical findings about human psychology. Empiricists have asked if people are or can be moral relativists, and what effect being a moral relativist can have on an individual’s moral functioning. This research is underutilized in philosophers’ normative theories of relativism; at the same time, the empirical work, while useful, is conceptually disjointed. Our goal is to integrate philosophical and (...)
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  6. Culture and cognition.Daniel Mt Fessler & Edouard Machery - 2012 - In E. Margolis, R. Samuels & S. Stich (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press.
  7.  47
    On the Morality of Harm: A response to Sousa, Holbrook and Piazza.Stephen Stich, Daniel M. T. Fessler & Daniel Kelly - 2009 - Cognition 113 (1):93-97.
  8.  6
    Meat Is Good to Taboo: Dietary Proscriptions as a Product of the Interaction of Psychological Mechanisms and Social Processes.Daniel Fessler & Carlos David Navarrete - 2003 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 3 (1):1-40.
    Comparing food taboos across 78 cultures, this paper demonstrates that meat, though a prized food, is also the principal target of proscriptions. Reviewing existing explanations of taboos, we find that both functionalist and symbolic approaches fail to account for meat's cross-cultural centrality and do not reflect experience-near aspects of food taboos, principal among which is disgust. Adopting an evolutionary approach to the mind, this paper presents an alternative to existing explanations of food taboos. Consistent with the attendant risk of pathogen (...)
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  9.  14
    On the deep structure of social affect: Attitudes, emotions, sentiments, and the case of “contempt”.Matthew M. Gervais & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
    Contempt is typically studied as a uniquely human moral emotion. However, this approach has yielded inconclusive results. We argue this is because the folk affect concept “contempt” has been inaccurately mapped onto basic affect systems. “Contempt” has features that are inconsistent with a basic emotion, especially its protracted duration and frequently cold phenomenology. Yet other features are inconsistent with a basic attitude. Nonetheless, the features of “contempt” functionally cohere. To account for this, we revive and reconfigure thesentimentconstruct using the notion (...)
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  10.  31
    The case of the drunken sailor: On the generalisable wrongness of harmful transgressions.Katinka J. P. Quintelier, Daniel M. T. Fessler & Delphine De Smet - 2012 - Thinking and Reasoning 18 (2):183 - 195.
    There is a widespread conviction that people distinguish two kinds of acts: on the one hand, acts that are generalisably wrong because they go against universal principles of harm, justice, or rights; on the other hand, acts that are variably right or wrong depending on the social context. In this paper we criticise existing methods that measure generalisability. We report new findings indicating that a modification of generalisability measures is in order. We discuss our findings in light of recent criticisms (...)
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  11.  66
    The Role of Disgust in Norms, and of Norms in Disgust Research: Why Liberals Shouldn’t be Morally Disgusted by Moral Disgust.Jason A. Clark & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):483-498.
    Recently, many critics have argued that disgust is a morally harmful emotion, and that it should play no role in our moral and legal reasoning. Here we defend disgust as a morally beneficial moral capacity. We believe that a variety of liberal norms have been inappropriately imported into both moral psychology and ethical studies of disgust: disgust has been associated with conservative authors, values, value systems, and modes of moral reasoning that are seen as inferior to the values and moral (...)
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  12.  3
    Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven societies.Daniel M. T. Fessler, H. Clark Barrett, Martin Kanovsky, Stephen P. Stich, Colin Holbrook, Joseph Henrich, Alexander H. Bolyanatz, Matthew M. Gervais, Michael Gurven, Geoff Kushnick, Anne C. Pisor, Christopher von Rueden & Stephen Laurence - 2015 - Proceedings of the Royal Society; B (Biological Sciences) 282:20150907.
    Human moral judgement may have evolved to maximize the individual's welfare given parochial culturally constructed moral systems. If so, then moral condemnation should be more severe when transgressions are recent and local, and should be sensitive to the pronouncements of authority figures (who are often arbiters of moral norms), as the fitness pay-offs of moral disapproval will primarily derive from the ramifications of condemning actions that occur within the immediate social arena. Correspondingly, moral transgressions should be viewed as less objectionable (...)
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  13.  29
    May God Guide Our Guns.Jeremy Pollack, Colin Holbrook, Daniel M. T. Fessler, Adam Maxwell Sparks & James G. Zerbe - 2018 - Human Nature 29 (3):311-327.
    The perceived support of supernatural agents has been historically, ethnographically, and theoretically linked with confidence in engaging in violent intergroup conflict. However, scant experimental investigations of such links have been reported to date, and the extant evidence derives largely from indirect laboratory methods of limited ecological validity. Here, we experimentally tested the hypothesis that perceived supernatural aid would heighten inclinations toward coalitional aggression using a realistic simulated coalitional combat paradigm: competitive team paintball. In a between-subjects design, US paintball players recruited (...)
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  14.  72
    Steps toward an evolutionary psychology of a culture dependent species.Daniel Fessler - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. Oxford University Press. pp. 61.
  15. Suicide Bombings, weddings, and prison tattoos: An evolutionary perspective on subjective commitment and objective commitment.Daniel M. T. Fessler & Katinka J. P. Quintelier - 2013 - In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press.
  16.  18
    Not Just Dead Meat: An Evolutionary Account of Corpse Treatment in Mortuary Rituals.Claire White, Maya Marin & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2017 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 17 (1-2):146-168.
    Comparing mortuary rituals across 57 representative cultures extracted from the Human Relations Area Files, this paper demonstrates that kin of the deceased engage in behaviours to prepare the deceased for disposal that entail close and often prolonged contact with the contaminating corpse. At first glance, such practices are costly and lack obvious payoffs. Building on prior functionalist approaches, we present an explanation of corpse treatment that takes account of the unique adaptive challenges entailed by the death of a loved one. (...)
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  17.  8
    Guarding the perimeter: The outside-inside dichotomy in disgust and bodily experience.Daniel Fessler & Kevin Haley - 2006 - Cognition and Emotion 20 (1):3-19.
  18.  16
    Sizing up the threat: The envisioned physical formidability of terrorists tracks their leaders’ failures and successes.Colin Holbrook & Daniel Mt Fessler - 2013 - Cognition 127 (1):46-56.
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  19.  3
    Moral parochialism misunderstood: a reply to Piazza and Sousa.Daniel M. T. Fessler, Colin Holbrook, Martin Kanovsky, H. Clark Barrett, Alexander H. Bolyanatz, Matthew M. Gervais, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, Geoff Kushnick, Anne C. Pisor, Stephen P. Stich, Christopher von Rueden & Stephen Laurence - 2016 - Proceedings of the Royal Society; B (Biological Sciences) 283.
  20.  6
    Men’s Physical Strength Moderates Conceptualizations of Prospective Foes in Two Disparate Societies.Daniel M. T. Fessler, Colin Holbrook & Matthew M. Gervais - 2014 - Human Nature 25 (3):393-409.
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  21.  24
    A Burning Desire: Steps Toward an Evolutionary Psychology of Fire Learning.Daniel Fessler - 2006 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 6 (3-4):429-451.
    Although fire is inherently dangerous, leading many animals to avoid it, for most of human history, mastery of fire has been critical to survival. Humans can therefore be expected to possess evolved psychological mechanisms dedicated to controlling fire. Because techniques for starting, maintaining, and using fire differ across ecosystems, the postulated adaptations can be expected to take the form of domain-specific learning mechanisms rather than fixed behavioral templates. After outlining features that such mechanisms are predicted to possess, I review the (...)
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  22.  16
    With God on our side: Religious primes reduce the envisioned physical formidability of a menacing adversary.Colin Holbrook, Daniel M. T. Fessler & Jeremy Pollack - 2016 - Cognition 146 (C):387-392.
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  23.  1
    Disgust, Gender, and Social Change.Geoff Kushnick, Daniel M. T. Fessler & Fikarwin Zuska - 2016 - Human Nature 27 (4):533-555.
  24. Professor.Daniel M. T. Fessler - forthcoming - In Richard Joyce, Kim Sterelny & Brett Calcott (eds.), Signaling, Commitment, and Emotion. MIT Press.
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  25. Harm, authority and generalizability: further experiments on the moral/conventional distinction.Katinka Quintelier & Daniel M. T. Fessler - unknown
    Certain researchers in the field of moral psychology, following Turiel, argue that children and adults in different cultures make a distinction between moral and conventional transgressions. One interpretation of the theory holds that moral transgressions elicit a signature moral response pattern while conventional transgressions elicit a signature conventional response pattern. Four dimensions distinguish the moral response pattern from the conventional response pattern. 1. HARM/JUSTICE/RIGHTS – Subjects justify the wrongness of moral transgressions by stating that they involve a victim that is (...)
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  26.  17
    Baumard et al.'s moral markets lack market dynamics.Daniel Mt Fessler & Colin Holbrook - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):89 - 90.
    Market models are indeed indispensable to understanding the evolution of cooperation and its emotional substrates. Unfortunately, Baumard et al. eschew market thinking in stressing the supposed invariance of moral/cooperative behavior across circumstances. To the contrary, humans display contingent morality/cooperation, and these shifts are best accounted for by market models of partner choice for mutually beneficial collaboration.
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  27.  3
    The Dead May Kill You.Claire White, Maya Marin & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2022 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 22 (3-4):294-323.
    There is considerable evidence that beliefs in supernatural punishment decrease self-interested behavior and increase cooperation amongst group members. To date, research has largely focused on beliefs concerning omniscient moralistic gods in large-scale societies. While there is an abundance of ethnographic accounts documenting fear of supernatural punishment, there is a dearth of systematic cross-cultural comparative quantitative evidence as to whether belief in supernatural agents with limited powers in small-scale societies also exert these effects. Here, we examine information extracted from the Human (...)
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  28.  45
    Naturalizing the normative and the bridges between 'is' and 'ought".Katinka J. P. Quintelier & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):266.
    Elqayam & Evans suggest descriptivism as a way to avoid fallacies and research biases. We argue, first, that descriptive and prescriptive theories might be better off with a closer interaction between and Moreover, while we acknowledge the problematic nature of the discussed fallacies and biases, important aspects of research would be lost through a broad application of descriptivism.
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  29.  29
    Contextual features of problem-solving and social learning give rise to spurious associations, the raw materials for the evolution of rituals.Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):617-618.
    If rituals persist in part because of their memory-taxing attributes, from whence do they arise? I suggest that magical practices form the core of rituals, and that many such practices derive from learned pseudo-causal associations. Spurious associations are likely to be acquired during problem-solving under conditions of ambiguity and danger, and are often a consequence of imitative social learning. (Published Online February 8 2007).
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  30.  26
    Naturalizing the normative and the bridges between “is” and “ought”.Katinka J. P. Quintelier & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (5):266.
    Elqayam & Evans (E&E) suggest descriptivism as a way to avoid fallacies and research biases. We argue, first, that descriptive and prescriptive theories might be better off with a closer interaction between and Moreover, while we acknowledge the problematic nature of the discussed fallacies and biases, important aspects of research would be lost through a broad application of descriptivism.
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  31.  13
    Seeing the elephant: Parsimony, functionalism, and the emergent design of contempt and other sentiments.Matthew M. Gervais & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
    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.
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  32. Starvation, serotonin, and symbolism. A psychobiocultural perspective on stigmata.Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2002 - Mind and Society 3 (2):81-96.
    Stigmata, wounds resembling those of Christ, have been reported since the 13th century. The wounds typically appear in association with visions following prolonged fasting. This paper argues that self-starvation holds the key to understanding this unique event. Stigmata may result from self-mutilation occurring during dissociation, phenomena precipitated in part by dietary constriction. Psychophysiological mechanisms produced by natural selection adjust the salience of risk in light of current resource abundance. As a result, artificial dietary constriction results in indifference to harm. A (...)
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  33.  17
    Importing social preferences across contexts and the pitfall of over-generalization across theories.Anne C. Pisor & Daniel Mt Fessler - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1):34-35.
    Claims regarding negative strong reciprocity do indeed rest on experiments lacking established external validity, often without even a small Guala's review should prompt strong reciprocity proponents to extend the real-world validity of their work, exploring the preferences participants bring to experiments. That said, Guala's approach fails to differentiate among group selection approaches and glosses over cross-cultural variability.
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  34.  15
    Windfall and Socially Distributed Willpower: The Psychocultural Dynamics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in a Bengkulu Village.Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2002 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 30 (1‐2):25-48.
  35.  8
    Cultural congruence between investigators and participants masks the unknown unknowns: Shame research as an example.Daniel Mt Fessler - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):92-92.
    In addition to questions of the representativeness of Western, educated samples vis-à-vis the rest of humanity, the prevailing practice of studying individuals who are culturally similar to the investigator entails the problem that key features of the phenomena under investigation may often go unrecognized. This will occur when investigators implicitly rely on folk models that they share with their participants.
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  36.  21
    Neglected Natural Experiments Germane to the Westermarck Hypothesis.Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2007 - Human Nature 18 (4):355-364.
    Natural experiments wherein preferred marriage partners are co-reared play a central role in testing the Westermarck hypothesis. This paper reviews two such hitherto largely neglected experiments. The case of the Karo Batak is outlined in hopes that other scholars will procure additional information; the case of the Oneida community is examined in detail. Genealogical records reveal that, despite practicing communal child-rearing, marriages did take place within Oneida. However, when records are compared with first-person accounts, it becomes clear that, owing to (...)
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  37.  7
    Revenge without redundancy: Functional outcomes do not require discrete adaptations for vengeance or forgiveness.Colin Holbrook, Daniel Mt Fessler & Matthew M. Gervais - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (1):22-23.
    We question whether the postulated revenge and forgiveness systems constitute true adaptations. Revenge and forgiveness are the products of multiple motivational systems and capacities, many of which did not exclusively evolve to support deterrence. Anger is more aptly construed as an adaptation that organizes independent mechanisms to deter transgressors than as the mediator of a distinct revenge adaptation.
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  38. Implications of instrumental and ritual stances for traditionalism–threat responsivity relationships.Theodore Samore & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e267.
    Jagiello et al.'s bifocal stance theory provides a useful theoretical framework for attempting to understand the connection between greater adherence to traditional norms and greater sensitivity to threats in the world. Here, we examine the implications of the instrumental and ritual stances with regard to various evolutionary explanations for traditionalism–threat sensitivity linkages.
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