Psychology

Gene Expression

Category archives for Psychology

God makes you chill

Neural Markers of Religious Conviction: Many people derive peace of mind and purpose in life from their belief in God. For others, however, religion provides unsatisfying answers. Are there brain differences between believers and nonbelievers? Here we show that religious conviction is marked by reduced reactivity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a cortical system…

Crime & punishment & Madoff

Even Bernard Madoff Doesn’t Deserve This: Remember Jeffrey Skilling? Losses to Enron shareholders of more than $1 billion largely determined his 24-year-plus sentence. Or consider WorldCom’s former chief, Bernard J. Ebbers. He got 25 years based principally on the $2.2 billion loss suffered by his company’s shareholders. Sure, these men destroyed enormous shareholder value, just…

Religion & IQ

A correspondent forward me this paper, The intelligence-religiosity nexus: A representative study of white adolescent Americans: The present study examined whether IQ relates systematically to denomination and income within the framework of the g nexus, using representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97). Atheists score 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82…

Canine behavioral economics

The absence of reward induces inequity aversion in dogs: One crucial element for the evolution of cooperation may be the sensitivity to others’ efforts and payoffs compared with one’s own costs and gains. Inequity aversion is thought to be the driving force behind unselfish motivated punishment in humans constituting a powerful device for the enforcement…

Evolutionary Psychology

Allen MacNeill of the Evolution List has a new weblog, Evolutionary Psychology. Check it out.

Have liberals no shame?

Will Wilkinson and Jon Haidt just did a bloggingheads.tv. I’ve blogged Haidt’s ideas before (Chris is skeptical). During this bloggingheads.tv interview Haidt lays out the difference between college age liberals and other societies with a scenario where a beloved dog dies and the family decides to consume the creature. Most non-college age non-liberals think that…

Moral dimensions of political tribes

Watching Beyond Belief 2 I was interested in Jonathan Haidt’s contention that liberals and conservatives exhibit alternative valences on five different “Moral Foundations.” In short, liberals tend to emphasize “Harm” and “Fairness,” and manifest little interest in the values of “Loyalty,” “Authority” and “Purity.” In contrast, conservatives tended to have a more balanced weighting of…

10 Questions for James Flynn

Over at Gene Expression James Flynn answers 10 questions.

Evolution of language

Nature has two papers on language which I’ll pass along (I don’t know enough about this area to say anything non-tardish) for those who have an interest in such things. First, our old friend Martin Nowak is behind a group which published an article titled Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language: …Here we describe the…

New Steven Pinker interview

Check out this new interview with Steven Pinker. It ostensibly focuses on his new book, The Stuff of Thought, though it covers a lot of ground. My own feeling is that the interviewer should have let the focus be more on Pinker than his own pet theories, but there’s a lot of good stuff in…