The human mind is filled with evolved decision mechanisms designed to meet adaptively important goals. We outline a framework for studying those mechanisms from an evolutionary cognitive psychology perspective, which emphasizes the role of the environment in shaping organisms\' decision strategies. We hold that decision strategies often take the form of simple decision rules constructed from building blocks that draw on evolved capacities, all of which fit to particular information structures in the environment. We illustrate these ideas with research examples from our work on human foraging cognition: deciding when to leave a resource patch, searching for information in memory, predicting when a sequence of events will stop or continue, and detecting sequential dependencies when simultaneously foraging for multiple resources.
Andreas Wilke is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Clarkson University, USA. He studied psychology at the Free University of Berlin (Diplom, 2002; Dr. phil., 2006) and was a postdoctoral researcher both at the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC), Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin (2005-06 and 2008) and at the Center for Behavior, Evolution and Culture (BEC), Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles (2006-08). More recently, he was appointed as a research scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington (2008-09) and as a postdoctoral fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Altenberg (2009). He has also been a visiting research scholar in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Institute for Social Research, and the School of Public Health, all at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interests are in cognitive and evolutionary psychology, evolutionary and behavioral ecology, and biological anthropology.