Why Facebook Is the Junk Food of Socializing – Facts So Romantic

Have you ever been walking in a dark alley and seen something that you thought was a crouching person, but it turned out to be a garbage bag or something similarly innocuous? Me too.

Have you ever seen a person crouching in a dark alley and mistaken it for a garbage bag? Me neither. Why does the error go one way and not the other?

Klattistock via Shutterstock

Human beings are intensely social animals. We live in hierarchical social environments in which our comfort, reproduction, and very survival depend on our relationships with other people. As a result, we are very good at thinking about things in social ways. In fact, some scientists have argued that the evolutionary arms race for strategic social thinking—either for competitionfor cooperation, or both—was a large part of why we became so intelligent as a species.

This affinity for social reasoning, however, has resulted in systematic quirks in human reasoning about the non-human. This happens in two ways. First, we tend to see humanlike agency where there isn’t any, a common form of pareidolia. Many people view the sun as happy, for instance, and in religions the world over,…

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