• Arnold Schroder

#20: Group Mind pt. 2: Concerts, riots, cults

Updated: Jan 27

(12/27/2020) We continue to describe extreme aspects of group psychology, delving into the phenomena like death from social exclusion. We examine cross-species similarities in the drive for sociality for its own sake. We discuss how certain varieties of evolutionary theory cannot account for the behaviors we observe, and how they also contribute to a culture war regarding evolutionary explanations. We look at results from experiments in group psychology, describe the notion of supernormal stimulus, and propose an explanation for the internet fragmenting, rather than unifying, our perceptions of the world.

Bibliography for episode 20:


Axelrod, R. & Hamilton, W. D. (1981) The evolution of cooperation. Science 211:1390-1396.


Cannon, W. 1942. Voodoo Death. American Anthropologist 44(2):169-181.


Davis, W. 1985. The Serpent and the Rainbow. Simon and Schuster.


Dein, S. 2003. Psychogenic death: individual effects of sorcery and taboo violation. Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 6(3):195-202.


Goodall, J. (1986) Chimpanzees of the Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Harvard University Press.


Gosling, S. D. & John, O. P. (1999) Personality dimensions in nonhuman animals: A cross-species review. Current Directions in Psychological Science 8(3):69-75.


Hahn, R. and Kleinman, A. 1983. Belief as pathogen, belief as medicine: “voodoo death” and the “placebo phenomenon” in anthropological perspective. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 14(4):3-19.


Hamilton, W. D. (1964) The genetical evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7:1-16.


Jablonka, E. & Lamb, M. J. (2005) Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life. MIT Press.


Levi-Strauss, C. 1963. Structural Anthropology. Basic Books.


Lorenz, K. (1970) Studies in Animal and Human Behavior vol. I. Harvard University Press.


Marzluff, J. M. & Angell, T. (2005) In the Company of Crows and Ravens. Yale University Press.


Otten, S. & Moskowitz, G. B. (1999) Evidence for Implicit Evaluative In-Group Bias: Affect-Biased Spontaneous Trait Inference in a Minimal Group Paradigm. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 36:77–89


Pietraszewski, D. (2013) What is group psychology? Adaptations for mapping shared intentional stances. In: Banaji, M. & Gelman, S. (Eds.) Navigating the Social World: What infants, children, and other species can teach us. (pp. 253-257). Oxford University Press.


Pietraszewski, D., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2014) The Content of Our Cooperation, Not the Color of Our Skin: An Alliance Detection System Regulates Categorization by Coalition and Race, but Not Sex. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88534. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088534


Trivers, R. L. (1971) The evolution of reciprocal altruism. The Quarterly Review of Biology 46(1):35-57.


Tuschman, A. (2013) Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us. Prometheus.




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