SUMMARY: Humans learn to lie instinctively, but generally frown on all but a few kinds of lies.
(About a 5 minute read)
Many people who do not believe humans have much in the way of instincts confuse instincts with reflexes.
A reflex is a fixed response to a given stimulus. No matter how often the stimulus occurs, the reflex is the same each time. Tap someone on the knee just so and their knee jerks. Do it again, and again their knee jerks. And that’s pretty much it for reflexes.
Instincts are different. For one thing, they involve learning. Your knee doesn’t get better at jerking with practice. Nor does it learn to jerk in more ways than one. But an instinct for, say, tool use is open to a person learning how to make or use a whole variety of tools.
In effect, instincts are prompts for learning. An instinct for tool use, for instance, is a prompt to learn how to use tools. An instinct for language is a prompt to learn how to speak. And so forth.
Continue reading “Lies, Liars, and Lying”