Adaptive variation in judgment and philosophical intuition

Consciousness and Cognition 18 (1):356-358 (2009)
Abstract
Our theoretical understanding of individual differences can be used as a tool to test and refine theory. Individual differences are useful because judgments, including philosophically relevant intuitions, are the predictable products of the fit between adaptive psychological mechanisms (e.g., heuristics, traits, skills, capacities) and task constraints. As an illustration of this method and its potential implications, our target article used a canonical, representative, and affectively charged judgment task to reveal a relationship between the heritable personality trait extraversion and some compatabilist judgments. In the current Reply, we further clarify major theoretical implications of these data and outline potential opportunities and obstacles for this methodology. Discussion focuses on (1) the need for theoretically grounded a priori predictions; (2) the use of precise process level data and theory; (3) the possibility of convergent validity as personality is known to predict life experiences and outcomes; and (4) the fundamentally adaptive nature of cognition.
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