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Pascal BOYER




Homepage at Washington University


  Main publications and conferences



Boyer, P., 2010, "The Fracture Of An Illusion. Science And the Dissolution of Religion", Göttingen, Vendenhoek & Ruprecht, 112 p.


Boyer, P., 2001, "Religion Explained. The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought", New York, Perseus, 404 p., 0465006957


Boyer, P., 1994, "The naturalness of religious ideas. A cognitive theory of religion", University of California Press


Boyer, P., 1990, "Tradition as Truth and Communication. A Cognitive Description of Traditional Discourse", Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 244 p.

Chapters in books

Boyer, P., 2012, "From studious irrelevancy to consilient knowledge: Modes of scholarship and cultural anthropology", in Creating Consilience. Evolution, Cognitive Science and the Humanities, Slingerland, E. & Collard, M. (eds), New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 113-29


Boyer, P., 2009, "What are memories for? Functions of recall in cognition and culture", in Memory in Mind and Culture, Boyer, P. & Wertsch, J. (eds), New York, Cambridge University Press, pp. 3-31


Boyer, P., 2009, "Cognitive predispositions and cultural transmission", in Memory in Mind and Culture, Boyer, P. & Wertsch, J. (eds), New York, Cambridge University Press, pp. 288-320


Boyer, P., 2007, "Are Specialised Inference Engines The Precursors Of Creative Imagination?", in Imaginative Minds, Roth, I. (ed), London, British Academy


Boyer, P., 2005, "A Reductionistic Model Of Distinct Modes Of Religious Transmission", in Mind and Religion: Psychological and Cognitive Foundations of Religion, Whitehouse, H. & McCauley, R. (eds), New York, Altamira Press


Boyer, P., 1999a, "Cultural evolution", in The MIT Encyclopedia of the cognitive sciences, Keil, F. & Wilson, R. (eds), Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, pp. 209-211


Van Leeuwen, F., Parren, N., Miton, H. & Boyer, P., 2018, "Individual Choose-to-Transmit Decisions Reveal Little Preference for Transmitting Negative or High-Arousal Content ", Journal of Cognition and Culture, 18:1-2, pp. 124-153


van Leeuwen, F., Miton, H., Firat, R. & Boyer, P., 2016, "Perception of Gay Men as Defectors and Commitment to Group Defense Predict Aggressive Homophobia ", Evolutionary Psychology, 14:3


Boyer, P., Firat, R. & Van Leeuwen, F., 2015, "Safety, threat, and stress in intergroup relations: A coalitional index model", Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, pp. 434-450


Boyer, P. & Parren, N., 2015, "Threat-related information suggests competence: a possible factor in the spread of rumors ", PLoS ONE, 10:6


Firat, R. & Boyer, P., 2015, "Coalitional affiliation as a missing link between ethnic polarization and well-being: An empirical test from the European Social Survey ", Social Science Research, 53, pp. 148-161


Baumard, N., Hyafil, A., Morris, I. & Boyer, P., 2015, "Increased Affluence Explains the Emergence of Ascetic Wisdoms and Moralizing Religions ", Current Biology, 25:1, pp. 10-15


Baumard, N. & Boyer, P., 2013, "Explaining moral religions", Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17:6, pp. 172-80


Baumard, N. & Boyer, P., 2013, "Religious Beliefs as Reflective Elaborations of Intuitions: A Modified Dual-Process Model", Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22:4, pp. 295-300


Boyer, P. & Petersen, M., 2013, "Studying institutions in the context of natural selection: Limits or opportunities?", Journal of Institutional Economics, 9:2, pp. 187-198


Boyer, P., Lienard, P. & Xu, J., 2012, "Cultural Differences in Investing In Others And In The Future: Why Measuring Trust Is Not Enough", PLoS One, 7:7, pp. e40750


Boyer, P. & Petersen, M., 2011, "The Naturalness of (many) social institutions: Evolutionary and Cognitive Background", Journal of Institutional Economics, 8:1, pp. 1-25


Boyer, P., 2010, "Intuitive Detection of Mental Disorder: Cognitive Background to Folk-Psychiatries", Philosophical Psychology, 23:6, pp. 821-44


Boyer, P. & Bergstrom, B., 2010, "Threat-Detection in Child Development. An Evolutionary Perspective", Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35:4, pp. 1034-41


Keren, H., Boyer, P., Mort, J. & Eilam, D., 2010, "Pragmatic and Idiosyncratic Acts in Human Everyday Routines", Behavioural Brain Research, 212, pp. 90-95


Boyer, P., 2008, "Bound to Belief?", Nature, 455, pp. 1038-9


Boyer, P., 2008, "Evolutionary Economics of Mental Time-Travel?", Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12:6, pp. 219-23


Boyer, P., 2008, "Evolutionary Perspectives On Religion", Annual Review of Anthropology, 37, pp. 111-30


Boyer, P. & Lienard, P., 2006, "Why Ritualized Behaviour in Humans? Precaution Systems and Action-parsing in Developmental Pathological and Cultural Rituals", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29, pp. 1-56


Lienard, P. & Boyer, P., 2006, "Whence Collective Rituals? A Cultural Selection Model of Ritualized Behaviour", American Anthropologist, 108:4, pp. 814-27


Bergstrom, B., Moehlmann, B. & Boyer, P., 2006, "How children evaluate the source and scope of cultural information", Child Development, 77:3, pp. 531-8


Boyer, P., Robbins, P. & Jack, A., 2005, "Varieties of self systems worth having", Consciousness and Cognition, 14, pp. 647-60


Boyer, P., 2003, "Religious thought and behaviour as by-products of brain function", Trends in Cognitive Science, 7:3, pp. 119-24


Boyer, P. & Ramble, C., 2001a, "Cognitive templates for religious concepts: cross-cultural evidence for recall of counter-intuitive representations", Cognitive Science, 25, pp. 535-564


Honoré-Masson, S., Bedoin, N. & Boyer, P., 2001, "Développement des concepts chez les enfants de 3 à 11 ans : une évolution spécifique des domaines Animal et Artéfact", Incognito, 23, pp. 23-34


Boyer, P., Bedoin, N. & Honoré, S., 2000, "Relative contributions of kind- and domain-level concepts to expectations concerning unfamiliar exemplars: Developmental change and domain differences", Cognitive Development, 15:4, pp. 457-479


Boyer, P., 2000, "Natural epistemology or evolved metaphysics ? Developmental evidence for early-developed, intuitive, category-specific, incomplete, and stubborn metaphysical presumptions", Philosophical psychology, 13, pp. 277-297


Boyer, P., 1998b, "Cultural transmission with an evolved intuitive ontology: domain-specific cognitive tracks of inheritance (commentary on S. Atran's article)", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 21, pp. 570-571


Boyer, P., 1998a, "Cognitive tracks of cultural inheritance: how evolved intuitive ontology governs cultural transmission", American Anthropologist, 100, pp. 876-889


Boyer, P., 1995, "Dieux, esprits et fantômes, un air de famille", Sciences Humaines, 53, pp. 40-43

Conferences with proceedings

Honoré-Masson, S., Bedoin, N. & Boyer, P., 2004, "Early intuitive dissociation between folkbiological and folkpsychological theories: Emergence of diverse belief systems in the animal domain", proc. of 1st Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and The European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Barcelona, Spain, 2004, July (abstract)


Honoré, S., Bedoin, N. & Boyer, P., 2001, "Développement des concepts chez les enfants de 3 à 11 ans : une évolution spécifique des domaines Animal et Artéfact", actes de 4ème Colloque des Jeunes Chercheurs en Sciences Cognitives, Lyon, France, 2001, pp. 220-223


Honoré, S., Bedoin, N. & Boyer, P., 2001, "Développement des concepts chez les enfants de 3 à 11 ans : une évolution spécifique des domaines Animal et Artéfact", actes de 4ème COlloque des Jeunes CHercheurs en Sciences Cognitives, Lyon, France, 2001, May


Honoré, S., Bedoin, N. & Boyer, P., 1999, "Etude développementale des processus de catégorisation et spécificité de domaine : le cas des animaux et des artéfacts", actes de L'Enfant et le Monde des Objets, Groupe Francophone d'Etudes du Developpement Psychologique de l'Enfant (GROFRED), Rouen, France, 1999, pp. 30, domain specificity, categorisation, conceptual development (r�sum�) (poster)


Honoré, S., Boyer, P. & Bedoin, N., 1999, "Ontological organisation in distinctiveness effect", proc. of 11th Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP 11), Gent, Belgium, 1999, September (abstract) (poster)

Conference presentations

Bedoin, N., Honoré, S. & Boyer, P., 2002, "Hierarchical organisation of semantic memory: An fMRI investigation of structural and functional attributes retrieval", 1ères Journées d'Etude "Imagerie Cérébrale et Langage", Lyon, 2002, december (poster)

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