Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making

Un libro in lingua di Hammerstein Peter (EDT) Stevens Jeffrey R. (EDT) edito da Mit Pr, 2012

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How do we make decisions? Conventional decision theory tells us only which behavioralchoices we ought to make if we follow certain axioms. In real life, however, our choices aregoverned by cognitive mechanisms shaped over evolutionary time through the process of naturalselection. Evolution has created strong biases in how and when we process information, and it isthese evolved cognitive building blocks--from signal detection and memory to individual and sociallearning--that provide the foundation for our choices. An evolutionary perspective thus shedsnecessary light on the nature of how we and other animals make decisions.

Thisvolume--with contributors from a broad range of disciplines, including evolutionary biology,psychology, economics, anthropology, neuroscience, and computer science--offers a multidisciplinaryexamination of what evolution can tell us about our and other animals' mechanisms of decisionmaking. Human children, for example, differ from chimpanzees in their tendency to over-imitateothers and copy obviously useless actions; this divergence from our primate relatives sets upimitation as one of the important mechanisms underlying human decision making. The volume alsoconsiders why and when decision mechanisms are robust, why they vary across individuals andsituations, and how social life affects our decisions.

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