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Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism by Margaret M. Polski

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7Brightening the Twinkle of Our Faded Star

“Don’t be stupid.”

—My father, who I hope rests in peace despite my many errors.

If the state of research today in the neurosciences demonstrates anything useful at all for today’s policy makers and others who are concerned with governing societies of minds, it is that following my father’s advice is rather difficult—a hit-or-miss proposition at best, if the standard is vulcan-like technical efficiency. It appears that we think and choose quite differently than standard economic and public policy models suggest. Rather than being dispassionate optimization machines with stable preferences and an objective knowledge base (that we update, following Bayes’ rule), we are highly advanced but biased sensory ...

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