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Researchers: Arrogance evolved because it spread more selfish genes


In “The evolution of overconfidence” (Nature, 477, 317–320, 15 September 2011), Dominic D. P. Johnson and James H. Fowler argue,

Confidence is an essential ingredient of success in a wide range of domains ranging from job performance and mental health to sports, business and combat.

Some authors have suggested that not just confidence but overconfidence—believing you are better than you are in reality—is advantageous because it serves to increase ambition, morale, resolve, persistence or the credibility of bluffing, generating a self-fulfilling prophecy in which exaggerated confidence actually increases the probability of success.

For a while.

However, overconfidence also leads to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations and hazardous decisions, so it remains a puzzle how such a false belief could evolve or remain stable in a population of competing strategies that include accurate, unbiased beliefs.

Lots of reasons. If the people with false beliefs are a power in the land, the people with correct beliefs will usually realize the dangers of challenging them.

Here we present an evolutionary model showing that, counterintuitively, overconfidence maximizes individual fitness and populations tend to become overconfident, as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large compared with the cost of competition. In contrast, unbiased strategies are only stable under limited conditions.

The limited conditions being when the books are balanced, the market collapses, or the war is lost.

The fact that overconfident populations are evolutionarily stable in a wide range of environments may help to explain why overconfidence remains prevalent today, even if it contributes to hubris, market bubbles, financial collapses, policy failures, disasters and costly wars

What it mainly shows is that pride goes before a fall, and lots of  little guys go down in the collapse too.

Evolutionary psychology computer models are just fiction without the talent, pretending to be science. If thee guys had talent, they would have told this story as a novel and left out the clutter about evolution.

See also: In “Evolution of Human Generosity,” we hear from Science Daily (July 25, 2011) the “evolutionary psychology” reason we tip waiters

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

So, how do they allege altruism came about? Oh that's right, it evolved too because darwin's myth is a 'fact' no matter what the evidence says.Blue_Savannah
September 18, 2011
09:03 PM

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