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Unread October 29th, 2006, 03:00 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Default Re: Evolutionary Psychology and Mental Dysfunction

After reading that last post back I see the need for an additonal level of explanation:

While what I said above is accurate IMO - an additonal part of that explanation is the human phenomena of "time discount of value". This has been tested in numerous studies. Basically this means, for example, that a small child when asked to choose between a piece of candy right now, and two pieces of candy at this time tomorrow - will invariably choose the single piece now.

We are hardwired to not value the prospect of things in the future as much as we value them at the present time. That is an emotional calculation that we make. In a free market (where persons are free to follow their emotional decision calculator) - things like banking systems emerge where interest is payed on deposits and is charged as a fee for loans, for example.

A smoker values their immediate gratification from nicotine now - more than they value the likelihood that 20 years from now they will not be dieing of lung cancer. They believe emotionally that they will benefit more - their well-being will benefit more - from having a smoke right now - than their well-being will benefit from being lung cancer free twenty years from now. Logically, it makes little sense to a non-smoker - but emotionally it makes complete (emotional) sense to a smoker - at the time.

Likewise, my partner valued the immediate prospect of good feelings from winning a few games of Freecell - more than the prospect that a week from then - she would be feeling good about the additional work she had accomplished in the interim.

But, in all cases these were emotional calculations (albeit discounted for future value) that resulted in behavior choice.


Last edited by Margaret McGhee; October 29th, 2006 at 03:26 PM.
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