CALL FOR PAPERS: Cognitive Science of Nationalistic Behavior (CSNB) – Evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives

The Journal of Cognition and Culture (Brill) is hosting a special issue (edited by Dr Michal Fux, Northeastern University) on the role of cognitive science in nationalistic thought and behaviour (CSNB). Spurred by the rise in popularity of nation-based separatist movements following an era of a steady move toward globalization, the editing team is interested in filling a surprising scholarly gap by establishing a wide explanatory framework / cognitive model for CSNB thoroughly integrated with what is known about human cognition and its evolution.

Up to this day, the study of nationalism has focused mainly on understanding it as an exogenous motivational force which requires explanation. The kinds of explanations on offer were based in the assumption that nationalistic ideas were the cause for certain behaviors and beliefs, rather than the reverse relationship, which would suggest that the widespread nature and receptiveness towards nationalistic ideas stems, in part, from the engagement of basic cognitive mechanisms.

Many psychologists study cognitive systems that are relevant to understanding CSNB, but do not frame it in that context. Scholars in other disciplines also study themes surrounding ‘nationalism’ but few (if any) collaborate with each other, particularly across disciplinary lines. Integrating interdisciplinary, evolutionary informed, and cross-cultural/national expertise, would bring together the understanding of the nature of nationalistic (and other political) ideas and their likelihood of capturing human cognition, moving us closer towards a Standard Model of CSNB.

We invite submissions, empirical and theoretical, from scientists who resonate with this approach and have been studying a cognitive mechanism/system/theory related to aspects of nationalistic thought and behaviors, such as (but not limited to)-  symbols (e.g. flags, anthems), shared narratives or myths of common ancestry, preoccupations with “stranger-danger”, claims to land, appeal to socially constructed categories (e.g. religion/ethnicity/race), and boundary demarcating idioms such as “Motherland” “Homeland” or “The Country”.

Successful submissions will make strong links between cognition and nationalism, even if their data (in the case of empirical papers) was not collected for that purpose, the theoretical link should be clear and compelling. Ultimately, this special issue is meant to foster a network of researchers who, together, will be instrumental in specifying a Standard Model and, eventually, illuminate the motivations behind participation in nationalistic movements.

Manuscript Submissions

Interested contributors should submit a 750-word proposal (PDF, Word, or Google Doc) to Evaluation of proposals will start on May 1st, 2019 on a rolling basis; early submissions are encouraged. Dr Fux will send out invitations for full manuscripts. Final manuscripts will be due on September 1st, 2019.

Editorial Information


Dr Michal Fux
CORE Lab, Department of Psychology
Northeastern University
Boston, MA

(617) 373-3335