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Better Than Conscious?Decision Making, the Human Mind, and Implications For Institutions$
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Christoph Engel and Wolf Singer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195805

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195805.001.0001

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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: 25 May 2022

The Evolutionary Biology of Decision Making

The Evolutionary Biology of Decision Making

(p.285) 13 The Evolutionary Biology of Decision Making
Better Than Conscious?

Jeffrey R. Stevens

The MIT Press

Evolutionary and psychological approaches to decision making remain largely separate endeavors. Each offers necessary techniques and perspectives which, when integrated, will aid the study of decision making in both humans and nonhuman animals. The evolutionary focus on selection pressures highlights the goals of decisions and the conditions under which different selection processes likely influence decision making. An evolutionary view also suggests that fully rational decision processes do not likely exist in nature. The psychological view proposes that cognition is hierarchically built on lower-level processes. Evolutionary approaches to decision making have not considered the cognitive building blocks necessary to implement decision strategies, thereby making most evolutionary models of behavior psychologically implausible. The synthesis of evolutionary and psychological constraints will generate more plausible models of decision making.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, decision making, evolutionary biology, functional evaluation, natural selection, reinforcement learning, satisficing, simple heuristics

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