I have recently been exploring a Homo Hypocritus (man the sly rule bender) view of human nature, that humans have hugemongous brains in order to conspire to evade social norms. I’ve also known and respected Robert Kurzban for far longer, and so was excited to see his new book,
After living a life of struggle I figured out that life is not necessarily good and evil but instead positive and negative.
The second idea allows for more variation then simply saying something/someone is good/bad.
Just like we all know that light has many different wavelengths.
I do not feel positive vibes so I am not going to claim I know a whole lot about those even though I feel like being a hypocrite about it and saying I do.
I do however believe that lying has many MANY different vibrations which is why people respond differently depending on how deep you go and of course the other persons experience with liers.
But then how come we are so good at recognizing faces, remembering social and family relationships, and speculating about John's wife's best friend's intentions towards his brother?
If I recall correctly, it has been demonstrated that such higher-order relationship manipulations are more promptly and much better understood when they are cast in terms allowing us to apply our theory of mind, rather than in terms involving only inanimate objects and suchlike.
Of course, this doesn't imply that social thought is necessarily Machiavellian, as for trying to evade rules, only that for some reason it has been extremely important in our evolutionary past.
Anybody has some hard data indicating whether we are better at cynical self-serving social thought, or at other more community-serving sorts? (Bar sociopaths, say, who are firmly in the first camp)
Is social status really zero-sum? I'm asking this as a precise mathematical modeling problem. How do you handle equal status situations? (e.g.: if three individuals are in a strict descending hierarchy, or if one dominates two others with equal status, or if the three of them have equal status, is the total status the same in all three situations? Or does the total change as a function of the available depth, or what?)And should "status" model perceived status, or how others see you? because the first variant seems to me to clearly not be zero sum (each could think they are above their neighbors, so the net sum is positive... indeed, this may well be the psychological reality in many situations). And the second variant needs some way of aggregating all the other views into a single status.
Only half serious here, but still...
The idea of a unitary IQ or 'g' is a statistical myth.
The correlation is spurious because the system is under specified. Especially look at note 2.
I can't help but be skeptical of the tests myself; my own score is fairly reflective of where I estimate my general intelligence to fall relative to the population average, but I've known another person who I considered to be as intelligent as myself or more so, who revealed his tested IQ to be approximately half of my own, out on the on the opposite side of the mean. Provided he was being honest, that suggests to me some significant oversight in the testing methodology.
I hear another one, the reason is also conspiracy, humans conspired to kill the aggresive alpha-males, this was the result of the devolopment of language apparently, thus creating a negative selection pressure for aggresiveness (where it may have been positive previously). Does hypocrisy require conspiracy? Isn't it mostly an individual thing, yes it requires allot of "logic" etc. but it usually collapse when you share and "conspire" with others using it, that is why we call it hypocrisy.
Thanks to a controversial Jesse Bering article, I discovered that Robert Kurzban blogs.
I find implausible the idea that our modules for action and avowal are so radically insulated from each other that we are largely unconstrained by the universal norms we have avowed.
However, I do think that the nature of normative discourse itself leaves us vulnerable to accidental hypocrisy.
Our moral norms start simple. For instance, "do not lie", and "help others."
When these norms conflict with each other, if we've avowed both, we will have to be hypocritical with respect to one or the other.
This leads us to refine our moral norms to something like "do not lie, unless you are concealing a surprise party", or "do not lie, unless you are concealing Jews from Nazi soldiers" and such.
Our moral code starts to branch out via a fractal rule-ex branching process, with much re-factoring along the way.
And, regardless of how subtle our normative systems become, we continue to encounter novel situations that force first hypocrisy, and then a re-thinking of our norms.
Of course the story gets more complicated when some of the norms in question are personal permissive norms that align with self-interest.
In that case, it's often unclear whether something should be considered accidental hypocrisy, or a designed circumvention of holding yourself to the same standards you hold others to.
We can seek clues by noticing what happens after the hypocrisy.
If the hypocrite comes to notice the hypocrisy, and is embarrassed, and uses the event as a chance to refine her moral norms, to clear the way for acting more consistently with avowed universal norms going forward, then I'm apt to call it accidental hypocrisy.
If one continues avowing one thing and doing another, or if one engages in lame rationalization after the fact, then the capacity for that type of hypocrisy is probably being maintained by a pro-hypocrisy cognitive process of some sort.
My guess is that there is plenty of both going on.
billswift:recent studies show that at its higher reaches, IQ is _negatively_ correlated with “common sense.”
This is known as “sour grapes”.
In an article I read years ago on the validity of IQ, a Harvard professor was arguing against the idea of IQ altogether, and he mentioned as anecdote how he had only scored 120. This had apparently laid his foundation of doubt since he obviously disagreed with the score.
How to get others to trust you? Cripple yourself such that you cannot lie, with morality, guilt, etc.
That's the theory, but it's by no means obvious that this is the only or most efficient way to gain trust. One obvious alternative: pretend to be crippled. Evolution then would strengthen your acting abilities, instead of crippling you.
Psychopaths, in fact, do better in gaining a rube's trust than one burdened with morality and guilt. They're able to do this, it's true, because most people aren't psychopaths, but the point is that an arms race in conscious pretense versus detection, prima facie, makes a lot more sense than an arms race between hypocrisy and its detection.
At the least, such acting ability should develop alongside hypocrisy if humans evolved big brains for deceit. One could ask, why do so few of us have dramatic talent? If evolution didn't even find it useful to provide us with acting ability, it's unlikely that it went so far as to cripple us for the same ends.
>recent studies show that at its higher reaches, IQ is _negatively_ correlated with “common sense.”
This is known as "sour grapes".
Deception is an arms race. First came those who could consciously lie. Then guilt evolved for credibly signaling your honesty, which is how lie detection can work. Then hypocrisy evolved for you to continue deceiving other people. Why does guilt remain? Because if it goes the lie detectors would sense that the 'test results' were 'too clean'. In this equilibrium the best liars are the guilty hypocritical ones.
While I do believe there is social norm evasion, this does not seem quite enough to drive the evolution of our intellect. I much prefer Geoffrey Miller's sexual selection theory of the evolution of our brains. You can count on sexual selection to go all out on any trait, until it balances survival costs. Kanazawa seems to think intelligent people like novelty because it helps solve problems. A more plausible hypothesis is that intelligence is about searching for good jokes/music/art which does not work without a taste for novelty.
In any case, your homo hypocritus theory does not require social norm evasion to be the main factor driving increase in human intelligence.
How to get others to trust you? Cripple yourself such that you cannot lie, with morality, guilt, etc. This allows you credible signaling. But lying would still pay off, if you could actually carry it off. How to get around this? Be a hypocrite. Truly believe what you say, but behave differently, or say something else in a different context not realizing the contradiction.
There seem to be quite a few other better explanations of why humans have large brains, IMO.
Do foragers really have the machiavellian personalities attributed? Maybe someone can bring some actual anthropological knowledge to bear, but my impression is that the theories of human intellectual development emphasizing social manipulation was an over-extrapolation of the hierarchical structure of chimpanzee bands. Foragers are egalitarian rather than hierarchical, and in egalitarian societies there's little to gain by evading and conspiring.
Psychometric data, as I interpret them, also tell against the human intellect's evolution being driven by "social intelligence." Social intelligence does not have a high g loading; in fact, recent studies show that at its higher reaches, IQ is _negatively_ correlated with "common sense."
The key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind’s design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection.
That is stated far too certainly relative to our actual knowledge of the brain and how it came to be as it is today.