Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Adapted Mind

Twice in one day. Well. I just can't help myself, I'm on a roll. For my own reference, here is a tentative list of instincts that people are hard-wired for. I get this list from Stephen Pinker's book, "The Language Instinct."

  1. Intuitive mechanics

  2. Intuitive biology

  3. Number

  4. Mental maps for large territories

  5. Habitat selection

  6. Danger, including the emotions of fear and caution, phobias

  7. Food: what is good to eat

  8. Contamination, including the emotion of disgust

  9. Monitoring current well-being, including the emotions of happiness and sadness, contentment and restlessness

  10. Intuitive psychology

  11. Mental Rolodex: database of individuals, with blanks for kinship, status or rank, history of exchange of favors, and inherent skills and strengths. (Could this explain the popularity of Facebook?)

  12. Self-concept

  13. Justice: sense of rights, obligations, and deserts, including the emotions of anger and revenge.

  14. Kinship, including nepotism and allocations of parenting effort.

  15. Mating, including the feelings of sexual attraction, love, and intentions of fidelity and desertion.