Abstract

Puzzlingly, humans in all cultures engage in a broad variety of aesthetically oriented activities that appear to have no obvious evolutionary utility, including immersion in those falsehoods called fiction. We argue that, despite appearances, aesthetically oriented activities are evolutionarily functional, and are the product of evolved adaptations designed to cause such experiences. These are adaptations whose function is to (1) assist in constructing the adaptations that constitute our species-typical neurocognitive design, and (2) bring those adaptations into a state of effective readiness, individually tailored to deal with the specific adaptive demands that they will confront during that person's life.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2095
Print ISSN
0049-2426
Pages
pp. 6-27
Launched on MUSE
2001-01-01
Open Access
No
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