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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Evolutionary approaches to social cognition investigate how cognition may be intrinsically linked to long-recurring adaptive challenges of human social life. Prominent features of the evolutionary approach include the ideas that cognition is systematically modulated by fitness-relevant fundamental goals (e.g., self-protection, disease avoidance, social affiliation, mate seeking, child rearing), that attaining these goals often requires domain-specific cognitive processing of information of particular content (i.e., that information content greatly matters), and that contemporary cognitive biases are frequently sensible and predictable from a deep, ancestral rationality. In reviewing research on processes including visual perception, attention, memory, social categorization, stereotyping, inference, judgment, and decision making, the chapter reveals that the evolutionary approach generates novel hypotheses, uncovers new phenomena, and creates a deeper, more integrative understanding of the social mind. The chapter closes by discussing several broad issues, including how evolved inclinations work with development, learning, and culture to shape social cognition

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, social cognition, fundamental goals, motivation, cognitive bias, stereotyping, attention, memory, categorization, judgment, and decision making

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