The present study sought to (1) determine whether Barrett's counterintuitiveness coding and quantifying scheme (CI-Scheme) could be applied to cultural materials with sufficient intercoder reliability, (2) provide evidence concerning just how counterintuitive is too counterintuitive for a concept to be a recurrent cultural idea, and (3) test whether counterintuitive intentional agent concepts are more common in folktales than other classes of counterintuitive concepts. Seventy-three folktales from around the world were sampled from larger collections. Using Barrett's CI-Scheme, two independent coders identified 116 counterintuitive objects and scored them for degree of counterintuitiveness with very high inter-rater concordance. Of folktales, 79% had one or two counterintuitive objects. Of the counterintuitive objects 93% had a counterintuitiveness score of only one. Of counterintuitive objects, 98% were agents. Results suggest the CI-Scheme may have utility for analyzing cultural materials, that the cognitive optimum for cultural transmission falls around one counterintuitive feature, and that counterintuitive agents are more common than other types of counterintuitive objects in folktales.

in Journal of Cognition and Culture

part of a larger study on ‘spiritual fruit formation’ in adolescents, teenaged participants in Young Life outreach “camping” programs completed surveys immediately before and immediately after the camping experience. Participants were American teens attending standard Young Life camps in the United States (Lake Champion, New York and Sharp Top Cove, Georgia) in summer 2007 and teens from international schools from six European nations (primarily American and British by birth) attending a service-oriented Young Life camp in Kovachevzi, Bulgaria, spring 2007. The outreach components of both types of camps (including talks, small group discussions, special music, games and skits) were similar as they were conducted by American Young Life program staff. Nevertheless, personality inventories revealed that a different profile of teen was more likely to ‘make a commitment to God’ during the Young Life service trip as compared with the standard Young Life camp. ‘Making a decision’ at standard Young Life camps was predicted by high extroversion and high emotional instability; whereas those teens that made a decision during the service trip were high on introversion and intellectual curiosity. Results suggest that different types of outreach camping experiences may be better at preparing different types of kids to respond positively to the Gospel message.

in Journal of Youth and Theology