Rationalization may improve predictability rather than accuracy

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43 (2020)
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Abstract

We present a theoretical and an empirical challenge to Cushman's claim that rationalization is adaptive because it allows humans to extract more accurate beliefs from our non-rational motivations for behavior. Rationalization sometimes generates more adaptive decisions by making our beliefs about the world less accurate. We suggest that the most important adaptive advantage of rationalization is instead that it increases our predictability as potential partners in cooperative social interactions.

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