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Adaptive misbeliefs are pervasive, but the case for positive illusions is weak

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2010

David Sloan Wilson
Departments of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 12902. dwilson@binghamton.edu
Steven Jay Lynn
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902. stevenlynn100@gmail.com


It is a foundational prediction of evolutionary theory that human beliefs accurately approximate reality only insofar as accurate beliefs enhance fitness. Otherwise, adaptive misbeliefs will prevail. Unlike McKay & Dennett (M&D), we think that adaptive belief systems rely heavily upon misbeliefs. However, the case for positive illusions as an example of adaptive misbelief is weak.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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