Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

No evidence of a specific adaptation

Ilkka Pyysiäinen a1
a1 Academy of Finland/Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland.

Article author query
pyysiäinen i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Bering's findings about the mental representation of dead agents are important, although his opposition between “endemic” and “cultural” concepts is misleading. Endemic and cultural are overlapping, not exclusive categories. It is also diffcult to see why reasoning about the dead would require a specific cognitive mechanism. Bering presents no clear evidence for the claim that the postulated mechanism is an adaptation.