Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Short Communication

Cliff-edged fitness functions and the persistence of schizophrenia


Randolph M. Nesse a1
a1 Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 nesse@umich.edu www-personal.umich.edu/~nesse/

Abstract

Strong recent selection for social cognition may well explain the persistence of genes that predispose to schizophrenia. The specific mechanism responsible may be a skewed fitness function in which selection pushes the mean for advantageous mental traits perilously close to a “fitness cliff” where the system fails catastrophically in some individuals.



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