June 8, 2011

ONE "SURPRISE" AFTER ANOTHER:

Evolutionary reasons for believing in luck (Cynthia Mills, 6/07/11, PhysOrg)

Superstition is an evolutionary surprise -- it makes no sense for organisms to believe a specific action influences the future when it can't. Yet superstitious behavior can be recognized in many animals, not just humans, and it often persists in the face of evidence against it. Superstitions are not free -- rituals and avoidances cost an animal in terms of energy or lost opportunities. The question becomes how can natural selection create, or simply allow for, such inappropriate behavior?

"From an evolutionary perspective, superstitions seem maladaptive," said Kevin Abbott, biologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and co-author with Thomas Sherratt of a recent study published in Animal Behaviour.


Posted by at June 8, 2011 6:12 AM
  

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