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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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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Decision Making

Decision Making

What Can Evolution Do for Us?

(p.97) 7 Decision Making
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making

Edward H. Hagen

Nick Chater

Charles R. Gallistel

Alasdair Houston

Alex Kacelnik

Tobias Kalenscher

Daniel Nettle

Danny Oppenheimer

David W. Stephens

The MIT Press

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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