Evolutionary Psychology and Artificial Intelligence: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Human Behaviour

Holly Wilson, Paul Rauwolf, Joanna J Bryson

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents a new landscape for humanity. Both what we can do, and the impact of our ordinary actions is changed by the innovation of digital and intelligent technology. In this chapter we postulate how AI impacts contemporary societies on an individual and collective level. We begin by teasing apart the current actual impact of AI on society from the impact that our cultural narratives surrounding AI has. We then consider the evolutionary mechanisms that maintain a stable society such as heterogeneity, flexibility and cooperation. Taking AI as a prosthetic intelligence, we discuss how—for better and worse—it enhances our connectivity, coordination, equality, distribution of control and our ability to make predictions. We further give examples of how transparency of thoughts and behaviours influence call-out culture and behavioural manipulation with consideration of group dynamics and tribalism. We next consider the efficacy and vulnerability of human trust, including the contexts in which blind trust in information is either adaptive or maladaptive in an age where the cost of information is decreasing. We then discuss trust in AI, and how we can calibrate trust as to avoid over-trust and mistrust adaptively, using transparency as a mechanism. We then explore the barriers for AI increasing accuracy in our perception by focusing on fake news. Finally, we look at the impact of information accuracy, and the battles of individuals against false beliefs. Where available, we use models drawn from scientific simulations to justify and clarify our predictions and analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology
EditorsTodd Shackelford
PublisherSage Publications
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781526489142
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021


  • Trust
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Trust; Artificial Intelligence (AI); Cooperation; Transparency; Agent Based Modelling; Information Cost; Technology Policy; CulturInformation Communication Technology
  • Cooperation
  • Transparency
  • Cultural Evolution
  • Technology Policy
  • Information Cost
  • Agent Based Modelling


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