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Efficiently Irrational:  Making Sense of Human Choice Behavior

Why do humans and animals so often make obviously irrational decisions? Perhaps because multiple competing behavioral systems compete for control of behavior, yielding an irrational patchwork of strategies. Neurobiological work conducted over the last decade, however, suggests the existence of a surprisingly unified mechanism that is not compatible with this explanation. Instead, growing evidence indicates that the structure of noise in the brain, and evolutionary pressure to optimize psychological choice in the face of this constraint, yield behavioral patterns that, while irrational, are in fact highly efficient.

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