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BACKGROUND Individual differences in human cognitive abilities show consistently positive correlations across diverse domains, providing the basis for the trait of "general intelligence" (g). At present, little is known about the evolution of g, in part because most comparative studies focus on rodents or on differences across higher-level taxa. What is(More)
Would someone raised without exposure to religious views nonetheless come to believe in the existence of God, an afterlife, and the intentional creation of humans and other animals? Many scholars would answer yes, proposing that universal cognitive biases generate religious ideas anew within each individual mind. Drawing on evidence from developmental(More)
People often believe that significant life events happen for a reason. In three studies, we examined evidence for the view that teleological beliefs reflect a general cognitive bias to view the world in terms of agency, purpose, and design. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that individual differences in mentalizing ability predicted both the(More)
The Harvard community has made this article openly available. Please share how this access benefits you. Your story matters. General intelligence in another primate: individual differences across cognitive task performance in a new world monkey (Saguinus Oedipus). PLoS ONE 4, no. 6: e5883. Abstract Background: Individual differences in human cognitive(More)
Previous research with adults suggests that a catalog of minimally counterintuitive concepts, which underlies supernatural or religious concepts, may constitute a cognitive optimum and is therefore cognitively encoded and culturally transmitted more successfully than either entirely intuitive concepts or maximally counterintuitive concepts. This study(More)
Do children believe that "everything happens for a reason?" That is, do children endorse purpose-based, teleological explanations for significant life events, as they do for social behavior, artifacts, biological properties, and natural kinds? Across three experiments, 5- to 7-year-olds (N = 80), 8- to 10-year-olds (N = 72), and adults (N = 91) chose(More)
Across 3 experiments, we found evidence that information about who owns an artifact influenced 5- to 10-year-old children's and adults' judgments about that artifact's primary function. Children's and adults' use of ownership information was underpinned by their inference that owners are typically familiar with owned artifacts and are therefore likely to(More)
Norenzayan et al. propose that religious beliefs with incidental prosocial effects propagated via a long-term process of cultural evolution. Applying their model, I explore a possible candidate target of cultural selection: the teleological view - often culturally elaborated as a belief in karma or fate - that life events occur to punish or reward(More)
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