Darwin's Mind: The Evolutionary Foundations of Heuristics and Biases

31 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2003  

James Montier

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein - Global Equity Strategy

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

The catalogue of biases that cognitive psychologists have built up over the last three decades seem to have stem from one of three roots - self-deception, heuristic simplification (including affect), and social interaction.

This paper attempts to explore the evolutionary basis of each of these roots. The simple truth is that we aren't adapted to face the world as it is today. We evolved in a very different environment, and it is that ancestral evolutionary environment that governs the way in which we think and feel.

We can learn to push our minds into alternative ways of thinking, but it isn't easy as we have to overcome the limits to learning posed by self-deception. In addition, we need to practice the reframing of data into more evolutionary familiar forms if we are to process it correctly.

Keywords: heuristics, biases, rationality, evolutionary psychology

Suggested Citation

Montier, James, Darwin's Mind: The Evolutionary Foundations of Heuristics and Biases (December 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=373321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.373321

James Montier (Contact Author)

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein - Global Equity Strategy ( email )

20 Fenchurch Street
London EC3P 3DB
United Kingdom
02074756821 (Phone)

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