Essays & blogposts

Open science, open society (2019).
Short blogpost for the International Cognition & Culture Institute about similarities in epistemic practice between politicians – especially conspiracy theorists – and scientists.

Of Gods and Platypuses: Is there a science of culture? (2018).
Short piece in Scientific American outlining the idea that any natural science of culture should be (will be) epidemiological in character.

IQ tests are not like tape measures (2018).
A short essay in which I argue that although we talk about IQ as if it’s like, say, height, it’s really like size. It’s an abstract idealisation and not a physically measurable thing. (Want to publish a version of this? Get in touch!)

How human are the dehumanised? (2017).
Short blogpost for the International Cognition & Culture Institute about dehumanisation and the evolution of morality.

More than words (2016).
Longform essay for Aeon, about the diversity of human communication, and in particular on how art can do some things that languages can’t.

Infections of the mind: Why anti-vaxxers just ‘know’ they’re right (2015).
A short essay for The Conversation about why anti-vaccination arguments are so intuitively appealing.
(Republished: IFL Science, New Zealand Herald, many others.)
(Media coverage: The Agenda with Steve Paikin.)

What is art? A pragmatic perspective (2015).
A short essay for the journal Think, looking at art from the perspective of how human communication works.

Précis of Speaking Our Minds (2015).
This précis opened a two-week online book club about Speaking Our Minds, hosted by the International Cognition & Culture Institute.

Unique: Humans and language (2014).
A short summary some of my research on language origins, for the Durham University alumni magazine, Durham First.

On communication and culture (2013).
A short interview about the evolutionary origins of communication and culture, for The New Evolutionary Enlightenment.

The origins of human communication (2012).
A brief summary for The Psychologist of some of my PhD research, for which I was awarded the BPS Outstanding Doctoral Research Prize.