Why are stories featuring fantastical beasts, monsters and the supernatural universally so culturally successful? This lecture explores the psychological foundations of their appeal and how striking a balance between a few counterintuitive elements with many normal elements is key to their cognitive appeal. In the exercise you will learn how to code a selection of folktales to test some of the predictions of the theory discussed in the lecture.
This project was supported by Grant #61105 from the John Templeton Foundation to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (PIs: S. Gavrilets and P. J. Richerson) with assistance from the Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The Cultural Evolution Society's Online Learning Tutorial Series is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For designers' contact information, click here.