Leda Cosmides

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In order to successfully engage in social exchange--cooperation between two or more individuals for mutual benefit--humans must be able to solve a number of complex computational problems, and do so with special efficiency. Following Marr (1982), Cosmides (1985) and Cosmides and Tooby (1989) used evolutionary principles to develop a computational theory of(More)
Professional probabilists have long argued over what probability means, with, for example, Bayesians arguing that probabilities refer to subjective degrees of confidence and frequentists arguing that probabilities refer to the frequencies of events in the world. Recently, Gigerenzer and his colleagues have argued that these same distinctions are made by(More)
The concept of a universal human nature, based on a species-typical collection of complex psychological adaptations, is defended as valid, despite the existence of substantial genetic variation that makes each human genetically and biochemically unique. These apparently contradictory facts can be reconciled by considering that (a) complex adaptations(More)
Present conditions and selection pressures are irrelevant to the present design of organisms and do not explain how or why organisms behave adaptively, when they do. To whatever non-chance extent organisms are behaving adaptively, it is 1) because of the operation of underlying adaptations whose present design is the product of selection in the past, and 2)(More)
Previous studies have established that people encode the race of each individual they encounter, and do so via computational processes that appear to be both automatic and mandatory. If true, this conclusion would be important, because categorizing others by their race is a precondition for treating them differently according to race. Here we report(More)
The Wason selection task is a tool used to study reasoning about conditional rules. Performance on this task changes systematically when one varies its content, and these content effects have been used to argue that the human cognitive architecture contains a number of domain-specific representation and inference systems, such as social contract algorithms(More)
Memory evolved to supply useful, timely information to the organism's decision-making systems. Therefore, decision rules, multiple memory systems, and the search engines that link them should have coevolved to mesh in a coadapted, functionally interlocking way. This adaptationist perspective suggested the scope hypothesis: When a generalization is retrieved(More)
Until recently, experiments on person perception had led to two unwelcome conclusions: (1) people encode the race of each individual they encounter, and (2) race encoding is caused by computational mechanisms whose operation is automatic and mandatory. Evolutionary analyses rule out the hypothesis that the brain mechanisms that cause race encoding evolved(More)
Selection in species with aggressive social interactions favours the evolution of cognitive mechanisms for assessing physical formidability (fighting ability or resource-holding potential). The ability to accurately assess formidability in conspecifics has been documented in a number of non-human species, but has not been demonstrated in humans. Here, we(More)