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Newborn imitation has recently become the focus of a major controversy in the human sciences. New studies have reexamined the evidence and found it wanting. Imitation has been regarded as a crucial capability of neonates ever since 1977, when two American psychologists first published experiments appearing to demonstrate that babies at birth are able to copy a variety of facial movements. The findings overturned decades of assumptions about the competence of newborns. But what if claims for newborn imitation are not true? Influential theories about the mechanisms underlying imitation, the role of mirror neurons, the nature of the self and of infant mental states, will all have to be modified or abandoned if it turns out that babies cannot imitate at birth. This Element offers a critical assessment of those theories and the stakes involved.
This Element provides an explanation for the power of weak states in international politics, focusing on the case of international climate negotiations at the United Nations. The author points to the pitfalls of assuming that weak countries elicit power from their coordinated salience for climate issues. Contrastingly, it is argued that weak states' influence at global climate negotiations depends on the moral authority provided by strong states. The author maintains that weak states' authority is contingent on international vulnerability, which intersects broader domestic discussions of global justice, and pushes the leaders of strong countries to concede power to weak countries. New empirical evidence is shown in support of the theory.
There has been a surge in scholarship on policy design over the last ten years, as scholars seek to understand and develop existing concepts, theories, and methods engaged in the study of policy design in the context of modern governance. This Element adds to the current discourse on the study of policy design by (i) presenting behavioral assumptions and structural features of policy design; (ii) presenting a multi-level analytical framework for organizing policy design research; (iii) highlighting the role of policy compatibility and policy adaptability in influencing policy efficacy; and (iv) presenting future research recommendations relating to these topics.
How can the world's religions, which propagate peace and love, promote violence and the killing of innocent civilians through terrorist acts? This Element aims to provide insights into this puzzle by beginning with a brief overview of debates on terrorism, a discussion on religion and the various resources it provides groups engaging in terrorist acts, four arguments for what causes religious terrorism, brief examples of religious terrorism across faith traditions, and a synopsis of deradicalization programs. This discussion shows that, when combined with certain political and social circumstances, religions provide powerful resources for justifying and motivating terrorist acts against civilians.
Since Meese and Rogoff (1983) results showed that no model could outperform a random walk in predicting exchange rates. Many papers have tried to find a forecasting methodology that could beat the random walk, at least for certain forecasting periods. This Element compares the Purchasing Power Parity, the Uncovered Interest Rate, the Sticky Price, the Bayesian Model Averaging, and the Bayesian Vector Autoregression models to the random walk benchmark in forecasting exchange rates between most South American currencies and the US Dollar, and between the Paraguayan Guarani and the Brazilian Real and the Argentinian Peso. Forecasts are evaluated under the criteria of Root Mean Square Error, Direction of Change, and the Diebold-Mariano statistic. The results indicate that the two Bayesian models have greater forecasting power and that there is little evidence in favor of using the other three fundamentals models, except Purchasing Power Parity at longer forecasting horizons.
Tibetan Demonology discusses the rich taxonomy of gods and demons encountered in Tibet. These spirits are often the cause of, and exhorted for, diverse violent and wrathful activities. This Element consists of four thematic sections. The first section, 'Spirits and the Body', explores oracular possession and spirit-induced illnesses. The second section, 'Spirits and Time', discusses the role of gods in Tibetan astrology and ritual calendars. The third section, 'Spirits and Space', examines the relationship between divinities and the Tibetan landscape. The final section, 'Spirits and Doctrine', explores how certain deities act as fierce protectors of religious and political institutions.
Comparative psychology, the multidisciplinary study of animal behavior and psychology, confronts the challenge of how to study animals we find cute and easy to anthropomorphize, and animals we find odd and easy to objectify, without letting these biases negatively impact the science. In this Element, Kristin Andrews identifies and critically examines the principles of comparative psychology and shows how they can introduce other biases by objectifying animal subjects and encouraging scientists to remain detached. Andrews outlines the scientific benefits of treating animals as sentient research participants who come from their own social contexts and with whom we will be in relationship. With discussions of science's quest for objectivity, worries about romantic and killjoy theories, and debates about chimpanzee cognition between primatologists who work in the field and those in the lab, Andrews shows how scientists can address the different biases through greater integration of the subdisciplines of comparative psychology.
This Element explores the association between political democracy and population health. It reviews the rise of scholarly interest in the association, evaluates alternative indicators of democracy and population health, assesses how particular dimensions of democracy have affected population health, and explores how population health has affected democracy. It finds that democracy - optimally defined as free, fair, inclusive, and decisive elections plus basic rights - is usually, but not invariably, beneficial for population health, even after good governance is taken into account. It argues that research on democracy and population health should take measurement challenges seriously; recognize that many aspects of democracy, not just competitive elections, can affect population health; acknowledge that democracy's impact on population health will be large or small, and beneficial or harmful, depending on circumstances; and identify the relevant circumstances by combining the quantitative analysis of many cases with the qualitative study of a few cases.
Increasingly, economists realize that a deeper understanding of culture can improve their insights into the most important questions in economics. The Austrian school of political economy, which has always taken economics to be a science of meaning, and therefore, a science of culture, offers a unique approach to the study of culture in economic life. We consider three important differences between these Austrian and non-Austrian approaches: the Austrian focus on culture as meaning rather than culture as norms, beliefs, or attitudes; the Austrian emphasis on culture as an interpretative lens rather than as a tool or form of capital; and the Austrian insistence that cultural analysis be a qualitative exercise rather than a quantitative one. We also examine Geertz's description of culture, Gadamer's approach to hermeneutics, and Weber's interpretative sociology, demonstrating their connections to the Austrian approach and offering examples of what Austrian cultural economics can look like.
Environmental rights are a category of human rights necessarily central to both democracy and effective earth system governance (any environmental-ecological-sustainable democracy). For any democracy to remain democratic, some aspects must be beyond democracy and must not be allowed to be subjected to any ordinary democratic collective choice processes shy of consensus. Real, established rights constitute a necessary boundary of legitimate everyday democratic practice. We analyze how human rights are made democratically and, in particular, how they can be made with respect to matters environmental, especially matters that have import beyond the confines of the modern nation state.
A revolution in the measurement and reporting of government performance through the use of published metrics, rankings and reports has swept the globe at all levels of government. Performance metrics now inform important decisions by politicians, public managers and citizens. However, this performance movement has neglected a second revolution in behavioral science that has revealed cognitive limitations and biases in people's identification, perception, understanding and use of information. This Element introduces a new approach - behavioral public performance - that connects these two revolutions. Drawing especially on evidence from experiments, this approach examines the influence of characteristics of numbers, subtle framing of information, choice of benchmarks or comparisons, human motivation and information sources. These factors combine with the characteristics of information users and the political context to shape perceptions, judgment and decisions. Behavioral public performance suggests lessons to improve design and use of performance metrics in public management and democratic accountability.
Humans can focus their attention narrowly (e.g., to read this text) or broadly (e.g., to determine which way a large crowd of people are moving). This Element comprehensively considers attentional breadth. Section 1 introduces the concept of attentional breadth, while Section 2 considers measures of attentional breadth. In particular, this section provides a critical discussion of the types of psychometric evidence which should be sought to establish the validity of measures of attentional breadth and reviews the available evidence through this lens. Section 3 considers the visual task performance consequences of attentional breadth, including prescribing several key methodological criteria that studies that manipulate attentional breadth need to meet, as well as a discussion of relevant theories and avenues for future theoretical development. Section 4 discusses the utility of the exogenous–endogenous distinction from covert shifts of attention for understanding the performance consequences of attentional breadth. Finally, Section 5 provides concluding remarks.
Throughout history, reform has provoked rebellion - not just by the losers from reform, but also among its intended beneficiaries. Finkel and Gehlbach emphasize that, especially in weak states, reform often must be implemented by local actors with a stake in the status quo. In this setting, the promise of reform represents an implicit contract against which subsequent implementation is measured: when implementation falls short of this promise, citizens are aggrieved and more likely to rebel. Finkel and Gehlbach explore this argument in the context of Russia's emancipation of the serfs in 1861 - a fundamental reform of Russian state and society that paradoxically encouraged unrest among the peasants who were its prime beneficiaries. They further examine the empirical reach of their theory through narrative analyses of the Tanzimat reforms of the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, land reform in ancient Rome, the abolition of feudalism during the French Revolution, and land reform in contemporary Latin America.
The central question of this Element is this: What does it mean to be transgender - in general and in specific ways? What does the designation mean for any individual and for the groups in which the individual exists? Biologically, what occurs? Psychologically, what transpires? The Element starts with the basics. The authors question some traditional assumptions, lay out some bio-medical information, and define their terms. They then move to the question of central concern, seen first in terms of the individual and then in terms of the group or society. They conclude with some implications, urging some new approaches to research and suggest some applications in the classroom and beyond.
The primary focus of this Element is to understand the rise of smart 'social' infrastructures in BoP emerging markets like India. It has been observed that new focus areas and frontiers of global economy are taking shape where social and environmental outcomes along with economic performance are considered to be collective parameters for success or failure of the businesses. This has led to the emergence of new models of entrepreneurship, namely for-profit social businesses. These new models are driven by problem-solving social innovators who are driven by the social and environmental mission besides economic gains. Sustainability and overall success of social businesses is driven by smart social infrastructure, comprising availability of incubation ecosystem for social start-ups, access to patient capital, availability of digital ecosystem, adoption of circular business models, and focus on collaborations, partnerships and networking with diverse stakeholders.
Human color perception is widely understood to be based on a neural coding system involving signals from three distinct classes of retinal photoreceptors. This retina processing model has long served as the mainstream scientific template for human color vision research and has also proven to be useful for the practical design of display technologies, user interfaces, and medical diagnosis tools that enlist human color perception behaviors. Recent findings in the area of retinal photopigment gene sequencing have provided important updates to our understanding of the molecular basis and genetic inheritance of individual variations of human color vision. This Element focuses on new knowledge about the linkages between color vision genetics and color perception variation and the color perception consequences of inheriting alternative, nonnormative, forms of genetic sequence variation.
Current knowledge of the genetic, epigenetic, behavioural and symbolic systems of inheritance requires a revision and extension of the mid-twentieth-century, gene-based, 'Modern Synthesis' version of Darwinian evolutionary theory. We present the case for this by first outlining the history that led to the neo-Darwinian view of evolution. In the second section we describe and compare different types of inheritance, and in the third discuss the implications of a broad view of heredity for various aspects of evolutionary theory. We end with an examination of the philosophical and conceptual ramifications of evolutionary thinking that incorporates multiple inheritance systems.
The aim of this Element is to offer a reassessment of Beckett's alleged Cartesianism using the theoretical framework of extended cognition – a cluster of present-day philosophical theories that question the mind's brain-bound nature and see cognition primarily as a process of interaction between the human brain and the environment it operates in. The principal argument defended here is that, despite the Cartesian bias introduced by early Beckett scholarship, Beckett's fictional minds are not isolated 'skullscapes'. Instead, they are grounded in interaction with their fictional storyworlds, however impoverished those may have become in the later part of his writing career.
This Element introduces several prominent themes in contemporary work on the epistemology and methodology of ethics. Topics addressed include skeptical challenges in ethics, epistemic arguments in metaethics, what (if anything) is epistemically distinctive of the ethical. Also considered are methodological questions in ethics, including questions about which ethical concepts we should investigate, and what our goals should be in ethical inquiry.
Reductionism is a widely endorsed methodology among biologists, a metaphysical theory advanced to vindicate the biologist's methodology, and an epistemic thesis those opposed to reductionism have been eager to refute. While the methodology has gone from strength to strength in its history of achievements, the metaphysical thesis grounding it remained controversial despite its significant changes over the last 75 years of the philosophy of science. Meanwhile, antireductionism about biology, and especially Darwinian natural selection, became orthodoxy in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology.This Element expounds the debate about reductionism in biology, from the work of the post-positivists to the end of the century debates about supervenience, multiple realizability, and explanatory exclusion. It shows how the more widely accepted 21st century doctrine of “mechanism”—reductionism with a human face—inherits both the strengths and the challenges of the view it has largely supplanted.