Modularity and the Social Mind

  title={Modularity and the Social Mind},
  author={Robert Kurzban and C. Athena Aktipis},
  journal={Personality and Social Psychology Review},
  pages={131 - 149}
A modular view of the mind implies that there is no unitary “self” and that the mind consists of a set of informationally encapsulated systems, many of which have functions associated with navigating an inherently ambiguous and competitive social world. It is proposed that there are a set of cognitive mechanisms—a social cognitive interface (SCI)—designed for strategic manipulation of others' representations of one's traits, abilities, and prospects. Although constrained by plausibility, these… 

Why Evolutionary Psychology Should Abandon Modularity

This work provides a framework for clarifying at what level of analysis one is approaching the mind, and explains how a systemic failure to distinguish between different levels of analysis has led to profound misunderstandings of not only evolutionary psychology, but also of the entire cognitivist enterprise of approach the mind at the level of mechanism.

Evolutionary Social Psychology

We have argued that the evolutionary perspective to social psychology is not untestable, not reductionist, not a theory about rigid genetic determinism, not a justification for the status quo, and

Co-Evolution of Consciousness and Biases That Make Humans Behave Against Their Own Interest

The BC theory proposes a unified explanation for the origin of biases (independent of evolutionary mismatch and ecological rationality), that can shed light on issues on mental health and on the mechanisms for overcoming those biases, what has consequences for public policy.

Self-Enhancement for Thought

Self-enhancement denotes a class of psycho- logical phenomena that involve taking a tendentiously positive view of oneself. We distinguish between four levels of self-enhancement—an observed effect,

Renovating the Pyramid of Needs

This work revisits the idea of a motivational hierarchy in light of theoretical developments at the interface of evolutionary biology, anthropology, and psychology and proposes a renovated hierarchy of fundamental motives that serves as both an integrative framework and a generative foundation for future empirical research.

Is Personality a System? Stability, Process and Plasticity

  • Steve Larocco
  • Psychology
    Integrative psychological & behavioral science
  • 2015
A provisional, beginning taxonomy of this network of infrapsychic and transpersonal systems is provided in order to start a research dialogue about personality that doesn’t begin with the operative background beliefs of nomothetic methodology, that resists presupposing personality as a cohesive, stable quality of personhood.

Functional Interdependence Theory: An Evolutionary Account of Social Situations

  • D. BallietJ. TyburP. V. van Lange
  • Psychology
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2017
FIT can generate testable hypotheses about the function and structure of the psychological mechanisms for inferring interdependence and offers insight into how people initiate and maintain cooperative relationships, select social partners and allies, and identify opportunities to signal social motives.

The Self as a Collection of Multiple Self-Aspects: Structure, Development, Operation, and Implications

What is the self? This age-old question is one that, surprisingly, receives little attention even among researchers who study it. In our view, addressing this important question begins with

Social Cognition of the Self 24

Introduction Th e study of the self can be traced to antiquity, when as early as the 6th century B.C.E., the Temple of Apollo at Delphi instructed people to “Know thyself.” Since then, consideration



The society of mind

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It is proposed that modularity, cleanly defined, provides a useful framework for directing research and resolving debates about individual cognitive systems and the nature of human evolved cognition.

The modularity of thought and the epidemiology of representations.

This chapter defends the view that thought processes might be modular too, and argues that perceptual and linguistic decoding processes are modular, much more than on the alleged nonmodularity of thought.

The Mind Doesn't Work That Way : The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology

In this engaging book, Jerry Fodor argues against the widely held view that mental processes are largely computations, that the architecture of cognition is massively modular, and that the

Modularity and cognition

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The totalitarian ego: Fabrication and revision of personal history.

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This paper attempts to clarify what a modular account of ToM entails, and why it is an attractive type of explanation, and explores how ToM might be grounded in a cognitive module and yet still afford development.

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Studying psychology and neuroscience without the analytical tools offered by evolutionary theory is like attempting to do physics without using mathematics: it may be possible, but the rationale for inflicting needless damage on the authors' ability to understand the world is obscure.