Archivio per 27 ottobre 2016

27
Ott
16

Big History, Complexity Theory, and Life in a Non-Linear World

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

WHEN , IN THE late 1970s, desktop computers suddenly made it simple to solve non-linear equations, scientists in fields from fluid dynamics to ecosystem studies began modelling their subjects with them. This was an earth-shaking development. Earlier, scientists could only model their subjects with relatively simpler, quicker-to-solve linear equations. With linear equations, ‘the sum of two equations is again a solution’. 1 A small cause will create a small effect, and a large cause, a large effect. They were the kinds of equations that Isaac Newton used to perfect his physics. Combined with René Descartes’ philosophy, Newton’s physics created a world view in which independent objects interacted according to a set of ‘Universal Laws of Nature’ in linear processes of cause-and-effect. Johannes Kepler had called the resulting world a ‘Clockwork Universe’. 2 However, as successful the resulting scientific paradigm proved to be, most of life is non-linear. After all, it took only a few small shifts in the genes of bacteria in Chinese fowl sometime around 1917 to cause the influenza epidemic that ravaged America and Europe at the end of World War I. Small causes can have enormous effects. But non-linear equations were much more time-consuming to solve. With the desktop computer revolution of the late 1970s, it was suddenly possible for scientists to model their topics with non-linear equations, with which small causes can have large effects. The scientists using them quickly made two discoveries. First, non-linear equations created a more accurate picture of how things in the world behaved.By Dmitri Bondarenko and Ken Baskin in History and Cultural History. Big History emerged as part of this non-linear way of understanding the world. What we discovered in working together is that the insights of complexity theory, which studies the 

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27
Ott
16

Reflections of the social environment in chimpanzee memory: applying rational analysis beyond humans

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

In cognitive science, the rational analysis framework allowsmodelling of how physical and social environments imposeinformation-processing demands onto cognitive systems. Inhumans, for example, past social contact among individualspredicts their future contact with linear and power functions.These features of the human environment constrain theoptimal way to remember information and probably shapehow memory records are retained and retrieved. We offera primer on how biologists can apply rational analysis tostudy animal behaviour. Using chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes )as a case study, we modelled 19 years of observationaldata on their social contact patterns. Much like humans,the frequency of past encounters in chimpanzees linearlypredictedfutureencounters,andtherecencyofpastencounterspredicted future encounters with a power function. Consistentwith the rational analyses carried out for human memory,these findings suggest that chimpanzee memory performanceshould reflect those environmental regularities. In re-analysingexisting chimpanzee memory data, we found that chimpanzeememory patterns mirrored their social contact patterns. Ourfindings hint that human and chimpanzee memory systemsmay have evolved to solve similar information-processingproblems. Overall, rational analysis offers novel theoreticaland methodological avenues for the comparative studyof cognition

27
Ott
16

Cognitive phenotypes and the evolution of animal decisions

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Abstract Despite the clear fitness conse?uences of animal decisions, the science of animal decision ma-ing in evolutionary iology is underdeveloped compared to decision science in human psychology. Specifically, the field lac-s a conceptual frameor- that defines and descries the relevant components of a decision, leading to imprecise language and concepts. The @Audgment and decision ma-ing (




Time is real? I think not

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