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Staff

Director (on sabbatical leave 2014-2015)

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 1170    Email: p.sousa@qub.ac.uk   

Dr Paulo Sousa is Director of the ICC and Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Anthropology. He holds a BA and a MA in anthropology (University of Brasilia, Brazil), a MA in cognitive science (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris), and a PhD in anthropology with specialization in cognition and culture (University of Michigan, USA). He has participated in many cross-cultural projects and published numerous articles in the field of cognition and culture. He also applied an epidemiological approach to the history of ideas of anthropology that stimulated a major controversy. His current research interests focus on agency and moral psychology as well as their relation to religion. He is also associate coordinator of the Porto X-Phi Lab, a laboratory of experimental philosophy in Porto, Portugal, and external examiner of the programme in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, UK. See Sousa's publications.

Acting Director

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 1173    Email: j.lanman@qub.ac.uk

Dr Jonathan Lanman is the Acting Director of the ICC and Lecturer in Cognition and Culture, and Anthropology. He previously taught as a Departmental and College Lecturer at the University of Oxford from 2009-2011. He holds a DPhil and an MSc in Anthropology from Oxford, an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. in English from Southeast Missouri State University. He is interested in applying the theories and tools of both social and cognitive anthropology to issues in the study of religion, atheism, morality, and intergroup relations. His DPhil research yielded both a descriptive and explanatory account of atheism in the contemporary West, which he is writing up as a monograph. At present, he is collaborating with anthropologists and psychologists on an ESRC Large Grant, entitled Ritual, Community, and Conflict, to ascertain the effects of ritual on ingroup cohesion and outgroup hostility across a range of contexts.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email:  laurenswiney@gmail.com

Dr. Lauren Swiney is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, and a visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast.  She holds a BA (summa cum laude) from Princeton University, and has completed both an MA (with distinction) and a PhD in Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast.  Her research investigates the cognitive basis of complex human beliefs, experiences and behaviours associated with religion and moral reasoning. One branch of her research concerns beliefs and practices relating to self, mind and thought. She has conducted a series of studies eliciting misattributions of agency for thought in the lab using the novel Mind-to-Mind paradigm, the results of which suggest that the experience of self-agency in the realm of thought may not be as robust as widely assumed.  Another branch of her research is concerned with the cognitive basis of moral intuitions, with a particular focus on rights and responsibilities related to the bodily self. Lauren is currently working as part of the project “Religion’s Impact on Human Life”, at the University of Oxford.  In collaboration with Dr. Jon Lanman and Professor Harvey Whitehouse, she is investigating questions of personal identity and the effects of ritual practice on personal relationships with God.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 1303   Email: m.buhrmester@qub.ac.uk

Dr Michael D. Buhrmester is a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the ICC and researcher at the University of Oxford. He earned his B.A. in Plan II Honors and Psychology (2007) and his PhD in Social & Personality Psychology (2013) from the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Dr. William B. Swann, Jr. He has published broadly on the nature of self-motives and the interplay of the personal and social self. In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group, his current work focuses on the antecedents, nature, and consequences of group bonding, prosociality, and conflict. He is specifically interested in elaborating upon empirical work on the newly introduced "identity fusion" construct. He is also interested in online methods of data collection in psychology.

Honorary Professor

Email: harvey.whitehouse@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Prof Harvey Whitehouse was the founding Director of the ICC. He is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he created the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology and the Centre for Anthropology and Mind. A specialist in Melanesian religion, he carried out two years of field research on a ‘cargo cult’ in New Britain, Papua New Guinea in the late eighties. His books include: Inside the Cult (1995), Arguments and Icons (2000), and Modes of Religiosity (2004). See Whitehouse's webpage.

Honorary Professor

Email: t.lawson@qub.ac.uk

Prof E. Thomas Lawson studies the ways in which our ordinary cognitive resources, bequeathed to us by the processes of natural selection, support the generation and transmission of quite complex religious concepts and underwrites the practices associated with them. He views religious ritual acts as by-products of our ordinary cognitive mechanisms, particularly those implicated in theory of mind and agency-detection capacities. He has worked very closely in his research and publications with Robert N. McCauley.  At present he has teamed up with Joel Mort to pursue a multi-year, cross-cultural study of precautionary behavior insofar as this is reflected in cultural rituals and precautionary theme preoccupations.  The project involves extensive fieldwork in various parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America.  He and Mort have already established field sites in South Africa and are conducting natural and experimental studies there. He has published Religions of Africa: Traditions in Transformation, and, with Robert N. McCauley, Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture and Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Cultural Forms.

Honorary Professor

Email: barkow@dal.ca

Prof Jerome H. Barkow is an anthropologist with a career-long interest in evolution and human behavior, with a particular focus on the adaptations that make it possible for human populations to edit local culture with each generation in a manner that, at least until recently, kept cultural information pools at least somewhat adapted to local conditions. His current research uses commercial films to study the attentional mechanisms involved in socially mediated culture-editing. Among Barkow’s publications is Darwin, Sex, and Status: Biological Approaches to Mind and Culture. He is a co-editor, along with Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, of The Adapted Mind.

Honorary Professor

Email: graham.macdonald@canterbury.ac.nz

Prof Graham Macdonald is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury. His research interests are primarily in the philosophy of mind, aspects of the philosophy of biology, and the philosophy of social science. He co-authored Semantics and Social Science (1980) with Philip Pettit, edited Perception and Identity: Essays Presented to A.J.Ayer (1979), and co-edited Fact, Science, and Morality (1986), Philosophy of Psychology and Connectionism (1995), and Karl Popper: Critical Appraisals (2005). Forthcoming work includes two co-edited volumes: McDowell and his Critics (2006), and Teleosemantics: New Philosophical Essays (2006).

Associate Researcher

Email: claire.white@csun.edu

Dr Claire White is an Associate Researcher of the ICC. She obtained a BSc in psychology from Queen's University and a PhD from the ICC. Claire has worked at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and King's College, London. She was a temporary Lecturer in Cognition and Culture at the ICC from 2010 until September of 2012. She is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies of California State University, Northridge. Claire is interested in folk concepts of personal identity and bereavement from the perspectives of cognitive anthropology, experimental psychology and experimental philosophy. See White's webpage.

Research Assistant

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 1304    Email: n.parren@qub.ac.uk

Nora Parren is a research assistant at the ICC. She obtained a BA in cognitive science from Vassar College and a MA from the ICC. She is working with Paulo Sousa on the moral psychology of harm and violence from a cross-cultural perspective, with field sites in Northern Ireland and in South Africa. Nora is also interested in religious belief formation and shift from a dual-systems perspective, with current research in the possible role of the Feeling of Knowing heuristic.

Contact Information

General Office Location: 
14 University Square, Room G01
Mon - Friday, 8.30 - 4.30pm
Tel:  +44 (0) 28 9097 3701
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3700
Email:  icc@qub.ac.uk

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