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Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making$
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Peter Hammerstein and Jeffrey R. Stevens

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018081

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018081.001.0001

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Decision Making

Decision Making

What Can Evolution Do for Us?

Chapter:
(p.97) 7 Decision Making
Source:
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making
Author(s):

Edward H. Hagen

Nick Chater

Charles R. Gallistel

Alasdair Houston

Alex Kacelnik

Tobias Kalenscher

Daniel Nettle

Danny Oppenheimer

David W. Stephens

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262018081.003.0007

This chapter examines the contributions that evolutionary theory can make to an integrated science of decision making. It begins with a discussion of classical decision theory and analyzes the conceptual and empirical failures of this approach. Mechanistic explanations, which do not explicitly invoke evolutionary arguments, are presented to account for these failures. Thereafter, evolutionary approaches to decision making are examined and the failures revisited in light of evolutionary theory. It is shown that in some cases “irrational” behavior might be adaptive. The chapter concludes by exploring the open questions, levels of analysis, and policy implications that an evolutionary approach can bring to decision making.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, decision making, axiomatic decision theory, fitness, action planning, decision algorithms, patch leaving, selection, social information

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