10/03/2011

The Economist anunta: oamenii se nasc cu un instinct pentru generozitate si altruism


Intotdeauna ma bucur cand persoanele cu o functie mentala mai primitiva descopera ca lumea umana e mai mult decat credeau in doctrinele lor.

Multi economisti, la fel ca multi monoteisti, isi traiesc viata crezand ca omul e un animal foarte egoist si pacatos - si incearca sa profite in acest sens ( egoismul e exploatat prin diviziune, iar "pacatul" e exploatat prin subjugare psihologica bazata pe sentimentele de vinovatie, rusine etc. fata de ceva "superior si pur"). Cultura functioneaza prin reproducerea ideilor, iar pentru ca asa oameni promoveaza acele idei, generatiile care cresc in culturile respective incorporeaza automat respectivele ideologii... in pofida naturii umane.


Evidence from economic games played in the laboratory for real money suggests humans are both trusting of those they have no reason to expect they will ever see again, and surprisingly unwilling to cheat them—and that these phenomena are deeply ingrained in the species’s psychology.




Studying human evolution directly is obviously impossible. The generation times are far too long. But it is possible to isolate features of interest and examine how they evolve in computer simulations. To this end Dr Delton and Dr Krasnow designed software agents that were able to meet up and interact in a computer’s processor.

The agents’ interactions mimicked those of economic games in the real world, though the currency was arbitrary “fitness units” rather than dollars. This meant that agents which successfully collaborated built up fitness over the period of their collaboration. Those that cheated on the first encounter got a one-off allocation of fitness, but would never be trusted in the future. Each agent had an inbuilt and heritable level of trustworthiness (ie, the likelihood that it would cheat at the first opportunity) and, in each encounter it had, it was assigned a level of likelihood (detectable by the other agent) that it would be back for further interactions.

After a certain amount of time the agents reproduced in proportion to their accumulated fitness; the old generation died, and the young took over. The process was then repeated for 10,000 generations (equivalent to about 200,000 years of human history, or the entire period for which Homo sapiens has existed), to see what level of collaboration would emerge.

The upshot was that, as the researchers predicted, generosity pays—or, rather, the cost of early selfishness is greater than the cost of trust. This is because the likelihood that an encounter will be one-off, and thus worth cheating on, is just that: a likelihood, rather than a certainty. This fact was reflected in the way the likelihood values were created in the model. They were drawn from a probability distribution, so the actual future encounter rate was only indicated, not precisely determined by them.



Sursa: http://www.economist.com/node/21524698
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