CDC Seminar on the Evolution of Decision Making

August 9, 2010

On July 28, Andreas Wilke, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Clarkson University, held a seminar at the Cognitive Development Center (CDC) about the evolution of decision making. As Wilke explained, the essence of the discussion was, “The human mind is filled with evolved decision mechanisms designed to meet adaptively important goals. The seminar outlined a framework for studying those mechanisms from an evolutionary cognitive psychology perspective, which emphasizes the role of the environment in shaping organisms' decision strategies. We hold that decision strategies often take the form of simple decision rules constructed from building blocks that draw on evolved capacities, all of which fit to particular information structures in the environment. At the seminar we illustrated these ideas with research examples from our work on human foraging cognition: deciding when to leave a resource patch, searching for information in memory, predicting when a sequence of events will stop or continue, and detecting sequential dependencies when simultaneously foraging for multiple resources.” The event was attended by the members of the CEU Cognitive Development Center and the CEU Philosophy Department, and several members from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Cognitive Science.