Pascal Boyer
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Pascal Boyer is Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective Memory at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches in the Psychology and Anthropology departments.

Pascal Boyer works in the Memory and Development Laboratory of the Psychology Department, Washington University. He also manages the the Luce Program in Individual and Collective Memory.

See Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

2013-2014: Pascal Boyer will be on leave, working at the Evolution, Cognition & Culture team at the University of Lyons, France.

Research Projects

E v o l u t i o n  &  C u l t u r e

My research is aimed at describing neuro-cognitive systems that [a] are part of the normal make-up of human minds as a result of evolution by natural selection and [b] support the acquisition of cultural knowledge, concepts and norms.
A good part of this research consists in experimental studies of adults and young children in natural and lab contexts. Current studies focus on anxiety and ritual behavior, on source memory and on early numerical capacities.

Click here for more detail on current research.

N a t u r a l n e s s   o f   R e l i g i o n

This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture.

See a book that explains the general framework - and articles that document the empirical research.

I n d i v i d u a l  &  C o l l e c t i v e  M e m o r y

The aim of the Luce Program
in Individual and Collective Memory is to provide a forum where processes of individual and cultural memory can be studied as an integral field transcending disciplinary boundaries. The Program includes undergraduate courses, graduate and faculty seminars, as well as workshops and other activities.

Click here for more information.


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