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Filippo Domaneschi, Marcello Passarelli and Luca Andrighetto


The business of a sentence is not only to describe some state of affairs but also to perform other kinds of speech acts like ordering, suggesting, asking, etc. Understanding the kind of action performed by a speaker who utters a sentence is a multimodal process which involves the computing of verbal and non-verbal information. This work aims at investigating if the understanding of a speech act is affected by the gender of the actor that produces the utterance in combination with a certain facial expression. Experimental data collected show that, as compared to men, women are less likely to be perceived as performers of orders and are more likely to be perceived as performers of questions. This result reveals a gender bias which reflects a process of women’s subordination according to which women are hardly considered as holding the hierarchical social position required for the correct execution of an order

Lawrence A. Hirschfeld


Increasingly, psychologists have shown a healthy interest in cultural variation and a skepticism about assuming that research with North American and Northern European undergraduates provides reliable insight into universal psychological processes. Unfortunately, this reappraisal has not been extended to questioning the notion of culture central to this project. Rather, there is wide acceptance that culture refers to a kind of social form that is entity-like, territorialized, marked by a high degree of shared beliefs and coalescing into patterns of key values that animate a broad range of cultural performances and representations. Ironically, anthropologists and other scholars in cultural studies have overwhelmingly come to reject this view of culture. Arguably, then, the move in psychology to attend to cultural environments has paradoxically further distanced it from the fields most concerned with cultural forms. This essay reviews this state of affairs and offers a proposal how a more nuanced appreciation of cultural life can be articulated with theories and methods familiar and available to psychologists.

Dolichan Kollareth, Jose-Miguel Fernandez-Dols and James A. Russell


On the assumption that shame is a universal emotion, cross-cultural research on shame relies on translations assumed to be equivalent in meaning. Our studies here questioned that assumption. In three studies (Ns, 108, 120, 117), shame was compared to its translations in Spanish (vergüenza) and in Malayalam (nanakedu). American English speakers used shame for the emotional reaction to moral failures and its use correlated positively with guilt, whereas vergüenza and nanakedu were used less for moral stories and their use correlated less with the guilt words. In comparison with Spanish and Malayalam speakers’ ratings of their translations, American English speakers rated shame and guilt to be more similar to each other.

María del Rosario Maita, Daniela Jauck, Seamus Donnelly and Olga Peralta


This study explored whether parental directions about location differ by socioeconomic status (SES) and whether children’s performance is associated with parental spatial directions. We designed a task in which parents hid a toy in one of five identical boxes in a small-scale space, and then verbally guided their children’s search. Middle-SES (MSES) parents employed more language in general than low-SES (LSES) parents. However, groups used the same amount of spatial terms, suggesting that providing effective spatial directions is probably a matter of quality than quantity. Parents differed in the use of frames of reference; with LSES parents scarcely using them, which resulted in ambiguous reference. MSES parents showed a higher rate of person frames of reference and proximity terms, and their children performed better in the task. Our results suggest that spatial communication including person frames of reference combined with proximity information might be an effective strategy to communicate location.

Patrick McNamara, Brian Teed, Victoria Pae, Adonai Sebastian and Chisom Chukwumerije


Purpose: To test the hypothesis that supernatural agents (SAs) appear in nightmares and dreams in association with evidence of diminished agency within the dreamer/dream ego.

Methods: Content analyses of 120 nightmares and 71 unpleasant control dream narratives.

Results: We found that SAs overtly occur in about one quarter of unpleasant dreams and about half of nightmares. When SAs appear in a dream or nightmare they are reliably associated with diminished agency in the dreamer. Diminished agency within the dreamer occurs in over 90% of dreams (whether nightmares or unpleasant dreams) that have overt SAs. In about half of nightmare reports the SA appears suddenly with no clear emergence pattern. In some two thirds of unpleasant dreams, however, the SA emerged from a human character. The SA’s gender was indeterminate in most dreams with SAs but the SA communicated with the dreamer in 24% of nightmares and only 13% of unpleasant dreams. In most nightmares, the SA intended to harm the dreamer and in one third of nightmares the dreamer was the victim of physical agression by the SA. SA intentions in unpleasant dreams were more varied and actually benign in 13% of cases.

Conclusion: Supernatural agents reliably appear in nightmares and unpleasant dreams in association with diminished agency in the dreamer. Diminished agency in an individual may facilitate supernatural agent cognitions.

Why Was the Color Violet Rarely Used by Artists before the 1860s?

A Descriptive Summary and Potential Explanation

Allen Tager


Although the color violet is now used in a wide variety of everyday products, ranging from toys to clothing to cars, and although it now appears commonly in artistic works, violet was rarely used in fine art before the early 1860s. The color violet only became an integral part of modern culture and life with the rise of the French Impressionists. I investigated the use of violet in over 130,000 artworks prior to 1863 and found that it appeared in about .06 percent of the paintings. Violet was used substantially more frequently in Impressionist works, and remains popular in fine art and in popular culture today. I examine several explanations for the explosion of the use of violet in the art world during the Impressionist era, and conclude that a cognitive-perceptual explanation, based on the heightened sensitivity of the Impressionists to short wavelengths, may account for it. The findings fit with a new understanding about evolutionary changes in planetary light and human adaptation to light.

Selfhood and Appearing

The Intertwining


James Mensch

What is the relation between our selfhood and appearing? Our embodiment positions us in the world, situating us as an object among its visible objects. Yet, by opening and shutting our eyes, we can make the visible world appear and disappear—a fact that convinces us that the world is in us. Thus, we have to assert with Merleau-Ponty that we are in the world that is in us: the two are intertwined. Author James Mensch employs the insights of Jan Patočka’s asubjective phenomenology to understand this double relationship of being-in. In this volume, he shows how this relation constitutes the reality of our selfhood, shaping our social and political interactions as well as the violence that constantly threatens to undermine them.

Robert Tyminski


Analysts have been concerned for decades about the unforeseen psychological impacts of technology. The rapid developments during the past 15 years have brought issues related to cyberspace front and center in analysis and psychotherapy. A specific question arises: what is happening to our capacity for relating openly? We now regularly see “screen time” being used 1) defensively to retreat and escape, 2) compulsively to gratify urges and impulses, and 3) addictively to quench emotional cravings. Problems with limits and recognition of separation confound the positive aspects of cyberspace. Vulnerable egos may not even realize when escapism turns into addiction. Soul can become lost in these activities, when relationships are instead transactional and technology is regarded as numinous. A case example from the author’s practice and another from the media highlight the great risks for soul in this realm of cyberspace.

Jon Mills


C. G. Jung never offered a formalized system of ethics, but his analytical psychology is teeming with ethical pronouncements. Jung’s ethical theories are introduced and explored in relation to a book written by Dan Merkur centering on the question of morality in human nature, the individuation process, and in psychotherapeutic treatment. Jung struggled to provide a dialectical account of human valuation, yet this is implied in the very process of overcoming oppositions through the negotiation and integration of differences, and in holding balances between internal and external conflicts. The psychologicalization of ethics, particularly the compensatory function of the unconscious, ensures that moral psychology is fraught with ambivalence, uncertainty, and competing dilemmas that are unique to each person, hence no formal or rational system of deontological ethics is possible.