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Darwins Dangerous Idea, the Bankers Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games: Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning
Unformatted Document Text:  CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 2 Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, the Banker’s Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games: Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning “Aspects of the brain and mind have been discussed as if designed recently, as needed, to produce a certain effect – a bit like the installation of antilock brakes in a proper new car – without any regard for the possible antecedents of mental and brain devices.” (Damasio, 1999, p. 39). “…almost every concept relevant to human sociality (such as rationality, conscience, guilt, consciousness, altruism, and egoism) has its meaning changed – or made more precise – by applying the new refinements of evolutionary theory.” (Alexander, 1987, p. 3). Collaboration among interdependent parties is the basis of relational life. The collaborative nature of personal relationships is important to highlight because it influences social interaction and it critically affects relational outcomes. It is hoped that grounding a collaborative model of dyadic relationships in an evolutionary perspective will provide scholars with a broad framework for understanding relational behavior. The aim of this work is to articulate such a meta-theoretical model. Evolutionary Psychology We start with a brief review of evolutionary psychology (EP) and the claims on which our model is based. Evolutionary psychology is the study of the human mind as shaped by evolutionary processes (Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992). According to this perspective, our psychological functioning has been shaped by longstanding problems encountered by our ancestors just as biological functioning has been shaped by environmental constraints (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). In short, the human mind is not a blank slate, but comes equipped to solve familiar (and ancestral) problems through the use of psychological adaptations (i.e., predispositions towards preferences, judgments, and behavioral tendencies that were, on average, beneficial to our ancestors in specific contexts; Pinker, 2002; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). According to EP, many aspects of cognitive functioning are not domain general, but are domain specific; that is, particular forms of reasoning, inferences, and decision-making rules have been uniquely configured to provide historically advantageous solutions to well-defined problems (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). For instance, the (judgmental) tendency to punish individuals who freeload off a group’s collective effort can be viewed as a domain specific response to cheaters who threaten communal cooperation (i.e., “what if everyone did that?”; Fehr & Gachter, 2002). Scholars from a variety of disciplines have tried to explore universal phenomena such as cooperation (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981), mate preferences (Buss, 1989), romantic attachment (Zeifman & Hazan, 1997), and language acquisition (Pinker, 1994) from such a perspective. The aim of an EP paradigm is not to gloss over cultural

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 2
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, the Banker’s Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games:
Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning
“Aspects of the brain and mind have been discussed as if designed recently, as needed, to produce a
certain effect – a bit like the installation of antilock brakes in a proper new car – without any regard
for the possible antecedents of mental and brain devices.” (Damasio, 1999, p. 39).
“…almost every concept relevant to human sociality (such as rationality, conscience, guilt,
consciousness, altruism, and egoism) has its meaning changed – or made more precise – by applying
the new refinements of evolutionary theory.” (Alexander, 1987, p. 3).
Collaboration among interdependent parties is the basis of relational life. The collaborative nature of
personal relationships is important to highlight because it influences social interaction and it critically
affects relational outcomes. It is hoped that grounding a collaborative model of dyadic relationships in an
evolutionary perspective will provide scholars with a broad framework for understanding relational
behavior. The aim of this work is to articulate such a meta-theoretical model.
Evolutionary Psychology
We start with a brief review of evolutionary psychology (EP) and the claims on which our model is
based. Evolutionary psychology is the study of the human mind as shaped by evolutionary processes
(Barkow, Cosmides, & Tooby, 1992). According to this perspective, our psychological functioning has
been shaped by longstanding problems encountered by our ancestors just as biological functioning has
been shaped by environmental constraints (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). In short, the human mind is not a
blank slate, but comes equipped to solve familiar (and ancestral) problems through the use of
psychological adaptations (i.e., predispositions towards preferences, judgments, and behavioral tendencies
that were, on average, beneficial to our ancestors in specific contexts; Pinker, 2002; Tooby & Cosmides,
1992). According to EP, many aspects of cognitive functioning are not domain general, but are domain
specific; that is, particular forms of reasoning, inferences, and decision-making rules have been uniquely
configured to provide historically advantageous solutions to well-defined problems (Tooby & Cosmides,
1992). For instance, the (judgmental) tendency to punish individuals who freeload off a group’s
collective effort can be viewed as a domain specific response to cheaters who threaten communal
cooperation (i.e., “what if everyone did that?”; Fehr & Gachter, 2002). Scholars from a variety of
disciplines have tried to explore universal phenomena such as cooperation (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981),
mate preferences (Buss, 1989), romantic attachment (Zeifman & Hazan, 1997), and language acquisition
(Pinker, 1994) from such a perspective. The aim of an EP paradigm is not to gloss over cultural


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