Chapter

The Modularity of Social Intelligence

Gerd Gigerenzer

in Adaptive Thinking

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153729
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849222 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195153729.003.0011

Series: Evolution and Cognition Series

The Modularity of Social Intelligence

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The social intelligence hypothesis is both stimulating and vague. It is stimulating because it reminds one that whenever psychologists study intelligence and learning in humans or animals, it is almost invariably about inanimate objects: symbols, sticks, and bananas. It is vague because the nature of the intelligence it invokes is largely unclear, and as a consequence, the mechanisms of social intelligence have not yet been specified. The modular version of the social intelligence hypothesis proposed here assumes that social intelligences come in the plural, as do nonsocial intelligences. The notion of modularity is the thesis that social intelligence is modular is motivated by two reasons: the shortsightedness of natural selection and the combinatorial explosion of intelligent systems. Natural selection works without a big plan but results in specific adaptations accumulated over generations.

Keywords: social intelligence; modularity; natural selection

Chapter.  4705 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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