Date of this Version
In: Simple Heuristics in a Social World, ed. Ralph Hertwig, Ulrich Hoffrage, and the ABC Research Group. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Darwin (1871) boldly claimed that humans and other animals differ very little in their cognition; a statement that has raised the ire of many scientists (Bolhuis & Wynne, 2009; Penn, Holyoak, & Povinelli, 2008). Rather than stating this continuity as a fact, we will explore the similarities and differences between humans and animals in the social rationality of their decision making. We find this a fruitful exercise because it can profit researchers of both humans and animals. Our purpose here is to provide an evolutionary background of social rationality: Why do animals attend to the lives of others? To this end, we begin by introducing the importance of social situations for the evolution of behavior. We then take a more process-based approach to social decision making by reviewing, first, the use of simple decision mechanisms such as heuristics or "rules of thumb" by animals; second, the requisite capacities and abilities needed for socially rational behavior; and, third, the influence of the environment (social and otherwise) on these decision mechanisms. Each of these topics could yield a chapter (or book) of its own, so instead of a thorough overview, we provide a brief introduction of animal social rationality and a few key examples of the roles of heuristics, cognitive capacities, and the environment.
Animal Sciences Commons, Animal Studies Commons, Applied Behavior Analysis Commons, Behavior and Ethology Commons, Biological Psychology Commons, Cognition and Perception Commons, Cognitive Psychology Commons, Communication Commons, Evolution Commons, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Commons, Other Psychology Commons