The HPedia: Innate

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Innateness is a concept central to cognitive science.  It refers to the predisposition of the brain toward certain cognitive tendencies.  It does not mean “hard-wired” so much as “pre-wired.”

Jonathan Haidt quotes Gary Marcus on innateness:

The initial organization of the brain does not rely that much on experience…  Nature provides a first draft, which experience then revises…  ‘Built-in’ does not mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience.

The concept is relevant to naturalistic spirituality in that myth and ritual may well take advantage of innate mental tendencies, such as a susceptibility to supernormal stimuli.

See also “HADD”, “Modularity of Mind”, and “Supernormal stimuli.”

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