Cognitive biases, error management theory, and the reproducibility of research findings

The human mind is the end product of hundreds of thousands of years of relentless natural selection. You would expect that such an exquisite piece of software should be capable of representing reality in an accurate and objective manner. Yet decades of research in cognitive science show that we fall prey to all sorts of cognitive biases and that we systematically distort the information we receive. Is this the best evolution can achieve? A moment’s thought reveals that the final goal of evolution is not to develop organisms with exceptionally accurate representations of the environment, but to design organisms good at surviving and reproducing. And survival is not necessarily about being rational, accurate, or precise. The target goal is actually to avoid making mistakes with fatal consequences, even if the means to achieve this is to bias and distort our perception of reality. Read the post in Imperfect Cognitions.

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