Evolution and the Psychology of Thinking: The Debate

By David E. Over | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO

Is there a faculty of deontic reasoning? A critical re-evaluation of abstract deontic versions of the Wason selection task

Laurence Fiddick

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

Undoubtedly one of the most important studies in evolutionary cognitive psychology is Cosmides' (1989) analysis of content effects on the Wason selection task in terms of adaptive cheater detection. However, in her landmark paper, Cosmides ventured beyond the confines of the selection task to argue for a bold new synthesis of evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology using Marr's (1982) concept of a computational theory as the bridge between these two disciplines. Following Marr's lead, Cosmides argued that cognitive psychology could not make progress unless it was informed by task analyses of the problems the mind was designed to solve. These task analyses would ultimately be supplied by evolutionary theory, which specializes in the study of natural design. Social Contract Theory, Cosmides' specific account of content effects on the Wason selection task, was merely one illustrative part of a larger programme, evolutionary psychology. Unfortunately, the double message of Cosmides' (1989) paper has generated a considerable amount of confusion as some appear to have confused Social Contract Theory as a general theory of reasoning whereas the true scope of the theory is much narrower. In this chapter I hope to dispel some of the confusion surrounding Social Contract Theory and, in the process, clarify where some of the difficulties facing the theory lie and where they do not.

Cosmides (1989) illustrated the benefits offered by an evolutionary perspective by making an example of the then puzzling literature on the Wason selection task. The Wason selection task was originally developed by Peter Wason (1968) as a test of people's ability to logically falsify a hypothesis. By then, the selection task had already generated a large literature, for while it is

-33-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Evolution and the Psychology of Thinking: The Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 246

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.