Olivier Morin “Natural experiments in psychology”
You are kindly invited to attend the meeting of the cultural evolution seminar on Thursday, March 30 at 16.15. This time, Dr. Olivier Morin will give a Skype talk on Natural experiments in psychology.
In the seminar a week before, on March 23, we’re discussing two articles by him, When Does Psychology Drive Culture? and Birth of the Cool.
Abstract of the lecture
The method of “natural experiments,” popular in economics or ecology, consists in using naturally occurring phenomena (in conjunction with controlled experiments, or on their own) to test hypotheses. Though less straightforwardly interpretable than controlled experiments, the ecological validity and historical relevance of natural experiments arguably compensate for some of these flaws. Cultural history provides some of the best material for such studies: books, paintings, or games can be seen as a long-standing, well-recorded experiment on human cognition. This point of view will be illustrated with a series of studies: the evolution of portraiture, the expression of emotions in novels, and the shape of letters in various alphabets. Reflections on the unpredictability of cultural change and the limits of natural experiments will be added if time allows.
Olivier Morin is currently a Research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, with the Minds and Traditions Research Group. He did his PhD with Dan Sperber at the Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris. His work focuses on cultural transmission and touches on the relations between anthropology, psychology and the philosophy of social science.
More info and publications: https://sites.google.com/site/sitedoliviermorin/
All are very welcome!
Organizers: Artem Shelja, Oleg Sobchuk, Peeter Tinits
The seminar is supported by the (European Union) European Regional Development Fund (University of Tartu’s ASTRA project PER ASPERA).