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The role of human cognition in maladaptive medical beliefs
Health-related practices are, importantly, cultural practices. Some of those practices can be both successful and inefficient, even dangerous, like bloodletting. Others are efficient but yet not as successful as they could be, like vaccination. Applying a cultural evolution approach to both those examples allows us to formulate hypotheses on which factors contributed to their success, and test such hypotheses. One main causal factor, for both bloodletting and anti-vaccination, is human cognition, and how it interacts in various ways with different possible beliefs and practices.