Are Humans Rational Essay Research Paper Are

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Are Humans Rational? Essay, Research Paper Are humans rational? The human species has well developed cognitive abilities compared to animals. These can be remarkable like language and many other communication systems. Our visual system provides us with excellent vital information for the environment. Besides, through thinking and problem solving, we have adapted the environment to suit us and developed science and technology. Surely, these are evidence of an advanced intelligence humans possess. On the other hand, though, psychological research strongly suggests that humans are irrational. There is a mass of psychological evidence (Kahneman et al., 1982; Baron, 1988; Evans et al., 1993), which show many errors and biases in human reasoning and decision-making. Besides,

everyday life provides us with supportive evidence for human irrationality. Smoking and drink driving is just a couple of them. How did humans achieve so much but are being irrational in so many experimental tasks and many aspects of life? Philosophers and psychologists, troubled by this paradox, suggest that there must either be something wrong with the experimental research as it is or researchers misinterpret the findings. In 1996, Evans and Over proposed another possible solution to the paradox. They argued that there should be a distinction between the uses of the word ?rationality?. They suggested two different uses of the word ?rationality?, rationality1 and rationality2. Rationality1 is used when referring to the rationality on a personal level. In this case, rationality

is satisfied when people successfully achieve the basic goals of survival and communication. Animals and humans share rationality1 that includes the use of early cognitive processes such as memory, perception, problem solving, learning and processes of adaptive and effective thinking. Rationality2, on the other hand, is impersonal and depended on actions based on logic or hypothetical thinking. Rationality2 is exclusive to humans. Laboratory experiments use probability and logic theories to assess rationality2 and find people having difficulties in processing that type of information. An average person is claimed to be systematically wrong in deductive reasoning and judging probabilities. According to Nisbett & Borgida in 1975, ?psychological evidence have bleak implications

for human rationality? and man is not a reasonable intuitive statician and cannot handle probabilities or making predictions (Kahneman & Tversky, 1972). Found irrational2 in labs, people could still be rational1 in life. In a typical experimental task, participants will be given a set of information to evaluate and reach a conclusion. This is where errors in evaluation or selection of conclusions in deductive problems appear because participants are likely to be influenced/biased by the believability of the conclusion. The ?belief bias? effect, as it is called (Evans et al., 1993), is well established, replicable and is said to produce supportive evidence for human irrationality2. People?s ability for adaptive and effective (rational1) thinking could be, to a certain extent,

an unconscious process and could be responsible for the ?belief bias? effect. The suggestion of unconscious cognitive processes implies that things that are habitual can be very influential, even when people are given instructions to disregard them on a task. In real life, people do not always use logic and probability theories to make a decision. Past experience and individual factors are more likely to influence everyday decision-making. A rational decision would be based on hypothetical thinking and should be made after all the alternative actions are assessed and the most profitable one is chosen. If logic were applied to everyday issues such as smoking, decision-making would be much harder. For example, would it be irrational for a soldier in war to smoke? His health is in