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Envy, Poison, and Death

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ISBN: 9780199562602 Year: Pages: 436 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562602.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: Leverhulme Trust
Subject: History --- Law --- Religion --- Gender Studies --- Ethnology --- Biology
Added to DOAB on : 2020-06-10 23:58:16
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At the heart of this book are some trials conducted in Athens in the fourth century BCE. In each case, the charges involved a combination of supernatural activities, including potion-brewing and cult activity; the defendants were all women. Because of the brevity of the ancient sources, and their lack of agreement, the precise charges are unclear; the reasons for taking these women to court, even condemning some of them to die, remain mysterious. This book takes the complexity and confusion of the evidence not as a riddle to be solved, but as revealing multiple social dynamics. It explores the changing factors—material, ideological, and psychological—that may have provoked these events. It focuses in particular on the dual role of envy (phthonos) and gossip as processes by which communities identified people and activities that were dangerous, and examines how and why those local, even individual, dynamics may have come to shape official civic decisions during a time of perceived hardship. At first sight so puzzling, these trials come to provide a vivid glimpse of the sociopolitical environment of Athens during the early to mid-fourth century BCE, including responses to changes in women’s status and behaviour, and attitudes to particular supernatural/religious activities within the city. This study reveals some of the characters, events, and local social processes that shaped an emergent concept of magic: it suggests that the legal boundary of acceptable behaviour was shifting, not only within the legal arena, but also with the active involvement of society beyond the courts.

Keywords

Athens --- women --- magic --- religion --- law --- courts --- trial --- fourth century --- emotions --- envy --- phthonos --- gossip

Invisible, but how? The depth of unconscious processing as inferred from different suppression techniques

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194209 Year: Pages: 143 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-420-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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To what level are invisible stimuli processed by the brain in the absence of conscious awareness? It is widely accepted that simple visual properties of invisible stimuli are processed; however, the existence of higher-level unconscious processing (e.g., involving semantic or executive functions) remains a matter of debate. Several methodological factors may underlie the discrepancies found in the literature, such as different levels of conservativeness in the definition of “unconscious” or different dependent measures of unconscious processing. In this research topic, we are particularly interested in yet another factor: inherent differences in the amount of information let through by different suppression techniques. In the same conditions of well-controlled, conservatively established invisibility, can we show that some of the techniques in the “psychophysical magic” arsenal (e.g., masking, but also visual crowding, attentional blink, etc.) reliably lead to higher-level unconscious processing than others (e.g., interocular suppression)? Some authors have started investigating this question, using multiple techniques in similar settings . We argue that this approach should be extended and refined. Indeed, in order to delineate the frontiers of the unconscious mind using a contrastive method, one has to disentangle the limits attributable to unawareness itself, and those attributable to the technique inducing unawareness. The scope of this research topic is to provide a platform for scientists to contribute insights and further experiments addressing this fundamental question.

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