Culture

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Culture

What is learning? Most psychologists (indeed, most people in general) would agree that learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, or new behaviors, or new skills. Hungarian psychologists Gergely and Csibra offer a deceptively simple description: “Learning involves acquiring new information and using it later when necessary.” What this means is that learning requires the…

There’s a very well-known experiment in developmental psychology called the “A-not-B task.” The experiment goes something like this: you, the experimenter, are seated opposite a human infant. Within the reach of both you and the child are two boxes: box “A,” and box “B.” You hide a toy in “A,” in full view of the…

Welcome to Territoriality Week! Every day this week, I’ll have a post about some aspect of animal or human territoriality. How do animals mark and control their territories? What determines the size or shape of an animal’s territory? What can an animal’s territory tell us about neuroanatomy? Today, I begin by asking two questions: first,…

PsychBytes is an experiment: three recent findings in psychology, each explained in three paragraphs or less. Generally, these are papers that I wouldn’t have otherwise covered in this blog. Please share your thoughts on this model in the comments. What works, and what doesn’t? Would you like more PsychBytes in the future? What’s In A…

“At home, a young man should be dutiful towards his parents; going outside, he should be respectful towards his elders.” -Confucius (Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BCE) “Your real boss is the one who walks under your hat.” -Napoleon Hill (American author, 1883-1970) Those two quotations reflect a cultural difference in how people construct their own conceptions…

Eric M. Johnson and I spent about 45 minutes discussing “evolutionary psychology beyond sex” last night, which you can see today on Bloggingheads “Science Saturday.” Or just watch it here:

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day full of turkey, cranberries, pie, and, of course, SCIENCE! After you fill your stomach with gravy and stuffing, stuff your mind with all this great Thanksgiving science. What’s any good Thanksgiving feast without some turkey? Emily Anthes of Wonderland starts the meal off with an offering of thanks for the turkey’s…

Despite the fact that my research lies at the intersection between cognitive, comparative, and developmental psychology, I am also quite interested in the evolution of our understanding of psychopathology. The ultimate goal of the study of psychopathology is to ground such disorders in brain and body. But our understanding of some pathologies are simply not…

The Fate of the Alamogordo Chimps

The National Institutes of Health announced that by 2011 it will transfer almost two hundred chimpanzees from the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico to a lab in San Antonio, Texas, lab for use in invasive research. In 1995, the NIH announced a moratorium on the breeding of chimps in federally-supported labs, and as a…

If there is one book that every human should read, it is The Invisible Gorilla, by Chris Chabris and Dan Simons. I suppose that’s a pretty bold statement to make. Let me explain. As a student of psychology, and as someone who studies and writes about the mind, I am overwhelmed with the general perception…