On Attractiveness of Surprising Ideas: How Memory for Counterintuitive Ideas Drives Cultural Dynamics


The emerging field of cognition and culture has had some success in explaining the spread of counterintuitive religious concepts around the world. However, researchers have been reluctant to extend its findings to explain the widespread occurrence of counterintuitive ideas in general. This article suggests a way to generalize the minimal counterintuitive hypothesis, which argues that such ideas spread because they are more memorable, to form the outline of a model of cultural dynamism which can help explain why strange and novel ideas spread more quickly than ordinary seeming traditional ideas.

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