The Null Device

Human brain specialised for detecting cheaters

Research has confirmed that the human brain has specialised faculties for detecting cheating and enforcing social contracts. These faculties are independent from general-purpose reasoning, and could be far older than it; similar faculties have been found in all social primates.

(I think it was one of Steven Pinker's books which gave the example of a problem stated two ways: as an abstract mathematical problem and as a problem of enforcing rules of social behaviour. The abstract formulation seemed difficult to solve, requiring thought, whereas the answer to the social-behaviour formulation jumped out at first glance.)

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