Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The compulsion to explain …

 Just-So Stories | Books and Culture. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the argument about the adaptiveness of stories, in Pinker, Gottschall, and Boyd alike, goes something like this: we are evolutionarily wired to be receptive to stories because receptiveness to stories gave our ancestors reproductive advantages. Those who could think narratively had a fund of virtual experience that they could use to anticipate problems, or to respond more constructively to them when they arrived unexpectedly. This led to longer lives and more offspring, offspring who inherited whatever cognitive equipment is associated with story-sensitivity, which over several thousand years produced our cultural environment, positively awash in every kind of narrative.

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