Modeling Intuition's Origins

Journal of Applied Memory & Cognition, Forthcoming

6 Pages Posted: 24 May 2016

See all articles by Adam Bear

Adam Bear

Yale University

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: May 22, 2016


Computational models of intuition typically focus on describing cognitive implementations of intuitive decision-making. In this commentary, we highlight several ways in which formal models can be used to consider a different perspective: the evolutionary and social origins of intuition. Why should intuitions have come to function as they do? We consider three case studies that demonstrate how introducing evolutionary game theory into the psychological study of intuition can help answer questions about the origins of intuitive processes. These case studies demonstrate why we should expect (i) intuition to persist within a population even when other forms of cognition perform better; (ii) intuition to favor cooperation rather than selfishness; and (iii) intuitive cooperators to be trusted more than people who cooperate after carefully calculating costs and benefits.

Keywords: Intuition, Cooperation, Evolutionary Game Theory

Suggested Citation

Bear, Adam and Rand, David G., Modeling Intuition's Origins (May 22, 2016). Journal of Applied Memory & Cognition, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Adam Bear (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

2 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
United States


David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States


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