Minimally Counterintuitive Imagery from the Bible to Harry Potter

A key idea in cognitive approaches to religion has been “minimally counterintuitive images” (MCI): that is, beliefs that violate our innate mental categories, such as animals that speak, or minds with no bodies. This counterintuitiveness makes these beliefs more memorable and gives them a cultural advantage. Over the past year my students and I have tried to find ways of quantifying MCI in religious and non-religious texts as a means of testing the predictions of the theory. I will overview the tools we’ve been using, our preliminary results and what we may be able to do with the methodology in the future.

Presented by Tom Dolack, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian. All are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, March 17th
12:30-1:30 PM
President’s Dining Room