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Efficient CognitionThe Evolution of Representational Decision Making$
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Armin W. Schulz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037600

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037600.001.0001

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The Psychological Underpinnings of Helping Behaviors

The Psychological Underpinnings of Helping Behaviors

Chapter:
(p.189) 9 The Psychological Underpinnings of Helping Behaviors
Source:
Efficient Cognition
Author(s):

Armin W. Schulz

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262037600.003.0009

What motivates an organism to help another? This is still very much an open question, despite being quite widely discussed. Given this lack of a settled account of the psychological structures underwriting helping behavior, a number of authors have tried to assess the evolutionary pressures on different cognitive architectures with a view to their ability to lead to helping behavior. As I try to make clearer in this chapter, there is much that can be said in favor of this evolutionary biological take on the psychology of helping behavior. However, as I also try to make clearer, making this evolutionary biological approach fully plausible requires shifting the focus of the analysis away from the reliability of different mind designs to lead organisms to help others—which is what existing analyses have tended to concentrate on—and towards the cognitive efficiency of different mind designs for helping others—i.e. the kind of perspective that this book has been concentrating on.

Keywords:   altruism, egoism, cooperation, reciprocity, childcare

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