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Cognitive and evolutionary foundations of culture and belief
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 23:35 authored by Robert Malcolm Ross
This thesis explores topical issues in human culture and belief using tools afforded by cognitive psychology and evolutionary theory. Chapter 1 outlines the specific topics examined in this thesis. Chapter 2 presents a meta-analysis that examines the association between delusional ideation and data gathering in the “beads task” paradigm. Chapter 3 presents a behavioural study that examines the extent to which analytic cognitive style and delusional ideation independently predict data gathering in the “beads task” paradigm. Chapter 4 presents a behavioural study of belief formation using the “allergist” associative learning paradigm. Chapter 5 presents an analysis of the evolution of European folktales using methods from population genetics to examine cultural evolution in large, modern societies. Chapter 6 presents a discussion of the importance of taking a geographically explicit approach to the analysis of cross-cultural data. Chapter 7 presents an analysis of the evolution of Arctic folktales using methods from population genetics to examine cultural evolution in small, traditional societies. Chapter 8 presents a general conclusion that summarises the contribution that this thesis makes to our understanding of culture and belief.