Robert Kurzban – Why everyone (else) is a hypocrite
“there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes.”
whatever the conscious modules actually do constitutes relatively little of what the mind, in total does.
“You” are the Machiavellian spin doctor and, as such, only a small part of the sum total of what’s going on in your head. “You” aren’t the President, the central executive, the Prime Minister, or Buzzy.
If you can save a drowning child at little risk to yourself, people perceive you as having an obligation to do so. So, getting access to new information can give you a new duty that you didn’t have before.
Knowing you can kill one person to save five in this way puts you in a no-win situation.
I think I would much prefer someone do the crossword puzzle in my class discreetly, rather than out in the open. Every time I let an obvious puzzle-doer go, my authority erodes just that little bit. And there’s no way that I’ve found to call out a student for doing a crossword puzzle without seeming draconian. So, I try to look like I don’t notice puzzle-doers.
Ignorance is at its most useful when it is most public.
it’s good for others to believe your prospects are good even if they aren’t.
having supernatural beliefs that are not the same as others around you, especially those in power, can be very dangerous. […] so one function of the mind may be to hold beliefs that bring the belief-holder the greatest number of alles, protectors, or disciples, rather than beliefs that are most likely to be true.”
If it’s true that being strategically wrong is akin to a propaganda ploy designed to persuade others that you’re a valuable social being, then we might expect that being strategically wrong is not just about being good, but specifically, being better than others.
The problem is that in science, there are big benefits to be had in being strategically wrong.
The person who is more and more wrong, leading to more and more bad decisions, but feels better and better, is always going to lose the evolutionary race to the person feeling worse and worse but making good decisions.
I can no longer say you have a preference over that set of choices. All I can say is that you have such a preference in the context in which you did the choosing. […] I can’t define the context.
So, it’s not “willpower” that’s exhausted–it’s that the ratio of costs to reward is too high to justify continuing. As Baumeister himself indicated, “it is adaptive to give up early on unsolvable problems. Persistence is, after all, only adaptive and productive when it leads to eventual success.”
If the effortometer is monitoring reward, then a gift resets it, and ought to improve subsequent self-control tasks.
People seem to insist on evolutionary explanations when they are trying to understand what non-humans are up to, but reflexively reject such explanations when it comes to people.
sex is fundamental, and if there were going to be some area in which people wanted to set the rules, this would probably be among the first.
a key feature of morality is that humans seem designed to accept – even create – rules that constrain their own behavior, as long as these rules constrain others’ behavior as well.