Behavioral and neural Darwinism: Selectionist function and mechanism in adaptive behavior dynamics

  • McDowell J
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Abstract

An evolutionary theory of behavior dynamics and a theory of neuronal group selection share a common selectionist framework. The theory of behavior dynamics instantiates abstractly the idea that behavior is selected by its consequences. It implements Darwinian principles of selection, reproduction, and mutation to generate adaptive behavior in virtual organisms. The behavior generated by the theory has been shown to be quantitatively indistinguishable from that of live organisms. The theory of neuronal group selection suggests a mechanism whereby the abstract principles of the evolutionary theory may be implemented in the nervous systems of biological organisms. According to this theory, groups of neurons subserving behavior may be selected by synaptic modifications that occur when the consequences of behavior activate value systems in the brain. Together, these theories constitute a framework for a comprehensive account of adaptive behavior that extends from brain function to the behavior of whole organisms in quantitative detail. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adaptive behavior dynamics
  • Matching theory
  • Neural Darwinism
  • Selection by consequences
  • Theory of neuronal group selection

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Authors

  • J. J. McDowell

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