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SBE 2020: Submission Detail

ID Number: 128
Title: What Would Happen to the Human Sciences if We Took Seriously the Fact that Behavior is Caused by Mental Mechanisms that Evolved to Execute Specific Functions?
Lead Author: McCullough, Michael E.
Abstract: Functional organization requires explanation. The only known natural causal process that can generate complex functional order is natural selection. This fact is widely appreciated in disciplines that seek to understand non-human behavior and cognition, and in some areas of human psychology (e.g., perception), but in the human social, behavioral, and economic sciences, natural selections unique role in creating functional organization is generally ignored. As NSFs SBE Directorate advances, the time is ripe to bring the social, behavioral, and economic sciences into conceptual integration not only with other facets of psychology, but with the other life sciences as well. Promoting research that starts with rigorous analyses of the forces that sculpted the human brain, and with models of why highly improbable computational neurocircuitry for a given behavior exists at all, can help to unlock many mysteries of human nature. We posit that a truly interdisciplinary approachone that uses the conceptual tools of evolutionary biology and that integrates computational, developmental, and neuroscientific levels of analyseswill help to fulfill the aims of the SBE Directorate, not only in the quest for discovering human nature, but also in identifying how a brain sculpted by ancient forces might address modern challenges.
PDF: McCullough_Michael_128.pdf

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