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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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Gene–Culture Coevolution and the Evolution of Social Institutions

Gene–Culture Coevolution and the Evolution of Social Institutions

(p.305) 14 Gene–Culture Coevolution and the Evolution of Social Institutions
Better Than Conscious?

Robert Boyd

Peter J. Richerson

The MIT Press

Social institutions are the laws, informal rules, and conventions that give durable structure to social interactions within a population. Such institutions are typically not designed consciously, are heritable at the population level, are frequently but not always group beneficial, and are often symbolically marked. Conceptualizing social institutions as one of multiple possible stable cultural equilibrium allows a straightforward explanation of their properties. The evolution of institutions is partly driven by both the deliberate and intuitive decisions of individuals and collectivities. The innate components of human psychology coevolved in response to a culturally evolved, institutional environment and reflect a prosocial tendency of choices we make about institutional forms.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, deliberate decision making, evolution of institutions, evolution of social institutions, gene-culture coevolution, human psychology, institutional design, intuitive decision making

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