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The evolution and devolution of cognitive control: The costs of deliberation in a competitive world

Author(s): Tomlin, Damon; Rand, David G.; Ludvig, Elliot A.; Cohen, Jonathan D.

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Abstract: Dual-system theories of human cognition, under which fast automatic processes can complement or compete with slower deliberative processes, have not typically been incorporated into larger scale population models used in evolutionary biology, macroeconomics, or sociology. However, doing so may reveal important phenomena at the population level. Here, we introduce a novel model of the evolution of dual-system agents using a resource-consumption paradigm. By simulating agents with the capacity for both automatic and controlled processing, we illustrate how controlled processing may not always be selected over rigid, but rapid, automatic processing. Furthermore, even when controlled processing is advantageous, frequency-dependent efects may exist whereby the spread of control within the population undermines this advantage. As a result, the level of controlled processing in the population can oscillate persistently, or even go extinct in the long run. Our model illustrates how dual-system psychology can be incorporated into population-level evolutionary models, and how such a framework can be used to examine the dynamics of interaction between automatic and controlled processing that transpire over an evolutionary time scale.
Publication Date: Sep-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 16-Jun-2015
Citation: Tomlin, Damon, Rand, David G., Ludvig, Elliot A., Cohen, Jonathan D. (2015). The evolution and devolution of cognitive control: The costs of deliberation in a competitive world. Scientific Reports, 5 (1), 10.1038/srep11002
DOI: doi:10.1038/srep11002
EISSN: 2045-2322
Pages: 1 - 11
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Scientific Reports
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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