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Delusions as exploitative deception

Hagen, Dr. Edward H (2005) Delusions as exploitative deception. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Non-bizarre delusions are hypothesized to be psychological adaptations which evolved to mitigate the dangerous consequences of social failure. When humans lived in small, kin-based groups, delusions would have functioned to combat social failure by closely mimicking conditions, such as possession of important information, external threats, or illness, where fellow group members were likely to cooperate and provide assistance. If delusions are adaptations to social failure, then they should onset when an individual faces a serious social threat, they should function (in ancestral type environments) to elicit social benefits—at least in the short term—and they should cease when the social threat ceases, an hypothesis which is examined in the context of numerous published studies of Delusional Disorder (DD). Studies of the relationship between DD and life events, immigrant status, prison psychoses, and discrimination all indicate that social deficits play a significant etiological role. Cross-cultural data collected in traditional societies show that delusions can elicit social benefits. Finally, studies show that positive social variables are the most important predictors of remission of DD. A case can therefore be made that delusions are an effective adaptation to social failure.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:delusions, psychosis, parasitism, cooperation, social failure
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Psychology > Clinical Psychology
ID Code:4134
Deposited By:Hagen, Edward
Deposited On:27 Mar 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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