The paranoid optimist: an integrative evolutionary model of cognitive biases.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Haselton, M. G.; Nettle, D.
Year of Publication: 2006
Journal: Pers Soc Psychol Rev
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Pagination: 47-66
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1088-8683
Keywords: Animals, Avoidance Learning, Biological Evolution, Cognition, Cognitive Dissonance, Culture, Humans, Illusions, Internal-External Control, Judgment, Likelihood Functions, Models, Psychological, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Psychological Theory, Self Efficacy, Social perception

Human cognition is often biased, from judgments of the time of impact of approaching objects all the way through to estimations of social outcomes in the future. We propose these effects and a host of others may all be understood from an evolutionary psychological perspective. In this article, we elaborate error management theory (EMT; Haselton & Buss, 2000). EMT predicts that if judgments are made under uncertainty, and the costs of false positive and false negative errors have been asymmetric over evolutionary history, selection should have favored a bias toward making the least costly error. This perspective integrates a diverse array of effects under a single explanatory umbrella, and it yields new content-specific predictions.

DOI: 10.1207/s15327957pspr1001_3
Alternate Journal: Pers Soc Psychol Rev
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