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Hypotheses and tests of an evolved psychological architecture for social norms Zhao, Wanying


Due to the critical importance of social norms and their ubiquitous presence over the course of human history, culture-gene co-evolutionary processes should have selected for a psychological architecture that supports learning and implementing local norms (Richerson & Henrich, 2009). In this thesis, I follow the above line of reasoning to argue that dealing with social norms presented domain-specific challenges to the cultural learner, requiring specialized cognitive processes to deal specifically with norms. This motivates several predictions about major design features that a psychological architecture evolved to meet those challenges should possess. I present a survey of extant evidence that are consistent with these predictions. Two empirical studies designed to test a number of these predictions are presented.

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