Friday, January 14, 2011

Parenting, Courtship, Disneyland and the Human Brain

I haven't posted any scholarly article related to Disney lately, mainly because I haven't been looking for it these past few months. But I came across one just now, and it is tackling from a rather unexpected angle - courtship. Or rather, the authors are trying to rebut and earlier paper on this very topic in relation to amusement parks in general.

C.T. Palmer and K. Coe, "Parenting, courtship, Disneyland and the human brain", vol. 1, p. 1 (2010). (Wow! Looks like this is a very new journal, and this is its very first published paper!)

Abstract: Using evidence drawn from the Southern California tourist industry, Geoffrey Miller argues that creativity, storytelling, humour, wit, music, fantasy, and morality, evolved as forms of courtship behaviour. Although he refers to the 'mind as amusement park' he fails to include in his analysis the most famous amusement park in the world, Disneyland, which is one of the most dense concentrations in the world of exactly those aspects of culture (art, creativity, storytelling, humour, wit, music, fantasy, and morality) that he claims have evolved as courtship displays. Yet, Miller's hypothesis cannot account for the fact that Disneyland is devoted to children. Disneyland, and other similar amusement parks, instead support the alternative hypothesis that the aspects of the human brain involved in these activities evolved in the context of parents influencing their offspring, and offspring responding to their parents, not in the context of courtship.

One can actually get the whole paper for free (at least, at the time that I'm writing this blog entry). So maybe this might make a good bedtime reading? :)


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