Ett evolutionärt perspektiv på beslutsfattande

  • Jessica Abbott


The ability to make well-reasoned and deliberate decisions is often seen as a uniquely human capacity. And it’s true that most other animals can’t think as far ahead, or understand the consequences of their decisions, as well as a human can. However most of the decisions that we make in our everyday life aren’t actually very well-reasoned or deliberate, and are made more or less spontaneously. Which is a good thing! If we needed to do a major review of our internal mental and physical state every time we were faced with a decision of what type of pastry to have with our morning coffee (croissant or cinnamon bun?), we wouldn’t have time for much else. It’s likely that most animal decision-making is similar to this type of spontaneous decision, which is based on “gut feeling” rather than rational weighing of pros and cons. This means that we can potentially gain insight into daily human decision-making by studying animal decision-making from an evolutionary perspective. In this article, I will discuss three basic types of animal decisions: decisions based on self-acquired information (individual decisions), decisions based on information from other individuals (social information), and decisions that are made in a group (collective decisions).