Fromage frais. Adam Sandler. Lidl. What do these three have in common?
The answer is probably very little, though as human beings we are endowed with an evolved capacity to seek patterns and purpose in the world, so you may have seen a connection. This capacity (looking for purpose where there may be none), argues Deborah Kelemen, is a universal human propensity, especially prominent in children. She argues that this means that children may be particularly receptive to belief in a creator God for this very reason.
What other evolved capacities guide our behaviour? Why should we care about the evolution of our brains, and what could it allow us to understand about culture? Can we look at archaeological evidence to understand our brains? Do the answers to these questions have implications for how we should organise our academic disciplines?
If you’re interested in learning more about this theory, and other proposals, from some prominent academics in the field in this article from 2015 at Live Science. For a more advanced piece of writing, have a look at this recent academic article written for ‘Behavioural and Brain Sciences’ in 2016.
Students who are looking to apply for any subject which seeks to understand human behaviour and culture from social or biological perspectives (including PBS, HSPS, Human Sciences, Archaeology and Anthropology, Theology, and Experimental Psychology)should consider how evolved capacities affect decision-making in adults. Students for any subject looking to enhance their critical thinking skills, read the article and try to determine the main lines of argument and evidence used by the authors.
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