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Curve 2: Modern programmed aging theories – There is an evolutionary cost associated with surviving beyond a species-specific age.

Curve 3: Medawar’s concept – The evolutionary value of survival and reproduction declines with age following a species-specific age.

Yet in many situations, even in the hard sciences, it is the most useful means of all. The value of intuition is underplayed in many areas of life, nowhere less so than in online dating.

Most dating websites are engines of algorithmic-powered rationality. ); to fill out various personality and psychometric profiles; and generally to ruminate a great deal about your path to a fulfilling relationship.

The idea is to make it easier for users to grasp, intuitively, what someone is really like, as they might in the real world; to allow them to use all their social smarts to pick out hints of compatibility and familiarity.

So a person’s profile might feature a shot of their bookcase, say, or their favourite coffee shop, their pet, some photos from their travels, a poster of a favourite film, and so on.

The effect is to evoke a sense of someone, rather than an algorithmic representation of them.

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He’s discovered, for instance, that a messy desk does not necessarily denote a messy mind, or even a creative one: variety of reading material is more telling than quantity.

In the past, maximum life span (the maximum biological limit of life in an ideal environment) was not thought to be subject to change with the process of ageing considered non-adaptive, and subject to genetic traits.

In the early 1900s, a series of flawed experiments by researcher Alexis Carrel demonstrated that in an optimal environment, cells of higher organisms (chickens) were able to divide continually, leading people to believe our cells to potentially possess immortal properties.

For example, they require you to describe yourself in words (your characteristics and interests, loves and hates); to sum up the attributes of the sort of person you’d like to be with (fun-loving? The psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West (and, more recently, Daniel Kahneman in his book ) call this kind of approach to problem-solving “system 2”.

It is slow, deliberative and analytical, a product of our (relatively) recently evolved prefrontal cortex; it enables us to make complex computations, and to direct our attention at particular tasks.

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