• Publications
  • Influence
The folk psychology of souls
  • J. Bering
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1 October 2006
The central thesis of the present article is that an organized cognitive “system” dedicated to forming illusory representations of psychological immortality, the intelligent design of the self, and the symbolic meaning of natural events evolved in response to the unique selective pressures of the human social environment. Expand
Intuitive Conceptions of Dead Agents' Minds: The Natural Foundations of Afterlife Beliefs as Phenomenological Boundary
Little is known about how the minds of dead agents are represented. In the current experiment, individuals with different types of explicit afterlife beliefs were asked in an implicit interview taskExpand
The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity.
Findings suggest that developmental mechanisms underlie intuitive accounts of dead agents' minds, and that older children and adults were likely to attribute epistemic, emotional, and desire states to dead agents. Expand
The Existential Theory of Mind
The primary causal explanatory model for interpreting behavior, theory of mind, may have expanded into corridors of human cognition that have little to do with the context in which it evolved,Expand
Hand of God, Mind of Man: Punishment and Cognition in the Evolution of Cooperation*
The evolution of human cooperation remains a puzzle because cooperation persists even in conditions that rule out mainstream explanations. We present a novel solution that links two recent theories.Expand
A critical review of the “enculturation hypothesis”: the effects of human rearing on great ape social cognition
  • J. Bering
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Animal Cognition
  • 5 March 2004
An alternative nonmentalistic version of the enculturation hypothesis that can also account for enhanced imitative performance on object-oriented problem-solving tasks in human-reared animals is presented. Expand
The development of afterlife beliefs in religiously and secularly schooled children.
Although children attending Catholic school were generally more likely to state that functions continue after death than children attending secular school, the pattern of change with regard to question type did not differ between the Catholic and secular groups. Expand
Concerns about reputation via gossip promote generous allocations in an economic game
In the present study, a modified dictator game was used to test the hypothesis that the threat of gossip would encourage prosocial decision making. All participants were asked to distribute anExpand
Children's Tattling: the reporting of everyday norm violations in preschool settings.
Experimental results suggest several new avenues of research into children's developing understanding of social norms through tattling in 2 preschools. Expand