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The Evolution of “Irrationality” October 22, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Animal Intelligence, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Science.

Research in behavioral economics, especially by Kahneman and Tversky, shows that people prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains and that our sense  of gains and losses depend on how they are framed rather than their objective outcomes.

Classical economics treat these cognitive biases as irrational but they nevertheless seem deeply embedded in human psychology.

Now some clever researchers, in a paper entitled  “How Basic Are Behavioral Biases?: Evidence from Capuchin Monkey Trading Behavior” show that the same biases exist in monkey behavior.

Thus, these behavioral biases are apparently very deeply rooted in our evolutionary history. Apparently, from an evolutionary point of view, these behaviors are not so irrational.



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