Cooperation is common across nonhuman animal taxa, from the hunting of large game in lions to the harvesting of building materials in ants. Theorists have proposed a number of models to explain the evolution of cooperative behavior. These ultimate explanations, however, rarely consider the proximate constraints on the implementation of cooperative behavior. Here we review several types of cooperation and propose a suite of cognitive abilities required for each type to evolve. We propose that several types of cooperation, though theoretically (...) possible and functionally adaptive, have not evolved in some animal species because of cognitive constraints. We argue, therefore, that future modeling efforts and experimental investigations into the adaptive function of cooperation in animals must be grounded in a realistic assessment of the psychological ingredients required for cooperation. Such an approach can account for the puzzling distribution of cooperative behaviors across taxa, especially the seemingly unique occurrence of cooperation observed in our own species. (shrink)
The conclusions of Barbey & Sloman (B&S) crucially depend on evidence for different representations of statistical information. Unfortunately, a muddled distinction made among these representations calls into question the authors' conclusions. We clarify some notions of statistical representations which are often confused in the literature. These clarifications, combined with new empirical evidence, do not support a dual-process model of judgment.
Each of the food-sharing models that Gurven considers demands unique cognitive capacities. Reciprocal altruism, in particular, requires a suite of complex abilities not required by alternatives such as tolerated scrounging. Integrating cognitive constraints with comparative data from other species can illuminate the adaptive benefits of food sharing in humans.
Humans hunt and kill many different species of animals, but whales are our biggest prey. In the North Atlantic, a male long-ﬁ nned pilot whale (Globiceph- ala melaena), a large relative of the dolphins, can grow as large as 6.5 meters and weigh as much as 2.5 tons. As whales go, these are not particularly large, but there are more than 750,000 pilot whales in the North Atlantic, traveling in groups, “pods,” that range from just a few individuals to a (...) thousand or more. Each pod is led by an individual known as the “pilot,” who appears to set the course of travel for the rest of the group. This pilot is both an asset and a weakness to the pod. The average pilot whale will yield about a half ton of meat and blubber, and North Atlantic societies including Ireland, Iceland, and the Shetlands used to manipulate the pilot to drive the entire pod ashore. In the Faroe Islands, a group of 18 grassy rocks due north of Scotland, pilot whale hunts have continued for the last 1200 years, at least. The permanent residents of these islands, the Faroese, previously killed an average of 900 whales each year, yielding about 500 tons of meat and fat that was consumed by local residents. Hunts have declined in recent years. From 2001 to 2005, about 3400 whales were killed, yielding about 890 metric tons of blubber and 990 metric tons of meat. The whale kill, or grindadráp in the Faroese language, begins when a ﬁ shing boat spots a pod close enough to a suitable shore, on a suitably clear day. A single boat, or even a small group of ﬁ shermen, is not sufﬁ cient to trap a.. (shrink)
Oaksford & Chater (O&C) focus on patterns of typical adult reasoning from a probabilistic perspective. We discuss implications of extending the probabilistic approach to lifespan development, considering the role of working memory, strategy use, and expertise. Explaining variations in human reasoning poses a challenge to Bayesian rational analysis, as it requires integrating knowledge about cognitive processes.