Darwin's Mind: The Evolutionary Foundations of Heuristics and Biases
31 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2003
Date Written: December 2002
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
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