The Social Prediction Dynamic: A Legacy of Cognition and Mixed Motives: Oscar Ybarra, Matthew C. Keller, Emily Chan, Andrew S. Baron, Jeffrey Hutsler, Stephen M. Garcia, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, and Kimberly Rios Morrison
W hat does evolutionary psychology have to do with social cognition?A lot. Following in the footsteps of other scholars, we argue thatcognition should be calibrated to the tasks and challenges that confront a species on a recurring basis (e.g., in this volume, Kenrick, Delton, Robertson, Becker, & Neuberg, chapter 4; Lieberman, chapter 11; and also Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). Although some researchers have proposed that for many species, including humans, such challenges have been ecological in nature (e.g., Clutton-Brock & Harvey, 1980; Gibson, 1986), for example, needing to
exploit the environment, a recurring set of challenges for humans is intrinsically tied to group life (cf. Dunbar, 1992; Dunbar, chapter 2, this volume; Humphrey, 1976; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). Thus, despite the various ecological problems humans and their ancestors have faced over millennia, which by the way have likely varied as a function of niche and geography, the perpetual challenge for all humans, regardless of what niche they have inhabited, has been having to navigate the social sphere and to live in groups. One consequence of this is that cognition, shaped by evolutionary processes, is at its core attuned to the social world.