Thanks Andrew for the nice article. While the categories are interesting (and debatable) the underlying cause is perhaps the most important thing for us to understand. Why do we seek to conform to group norms, be liked by other group members, etc? It’s because we’re a social primate species. We have very modest physical capabilities, being far slower and weaker than our ape cousins. The survival time for a lone human on the African savannah or in the primordial forests of Eurasia would have been a matter of a handful of days at most. It was essential for us to be part of a group, at almost any cost. As behaviors take thousands of years to evolve because of the complexity of the underlying mechanisms, we haven’t yet caught up with our modern world. We still behave largely as if we remained back in those early evolutionary environments. Once we understand this, it becomes easier to predict individual behavior under a wide range of contemporary circumstances. And ultimately it’s the predictive power of a theory that matters, not post-hoc descriptions. This is perhaps the greatest difference between the empirical sciences and the so-called social sciences. The former can make testable predictions whereas the latter are generally little more than assertive post-hoc descriptions.

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