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    Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels

    Fitness as Default: the evolutionary basis of cognitive complexity reduction

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    Given that knowledge consists of finite models of an infinitely complex reality, how can we explain that it is still most of the time reliable? Survival in a variable environment requires an internal model whose complexity (variety) matches the complexity of the environment that is to be controlled. The reduction of the infinite complexity of the sensed environment to a finite map requires a strong mechanism of categorization. A measure of cognitive complexity (C) is defined, which quantifies the average amount of trial-and-error needed to find the adequate category. C can be minimized by "probability ordering" of the possible categories, where the most probable alternatives ("defaults") are explored first. The reduction of complexity by such ordering requires a low statistical entropy for the cognized environment. This entropy is automatically kept down by the natural selection of "fit" configurations. The high probability, "default" cognitive categorizations are then merely mappings of environmentally "fit" configurations.

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    Description

    Title : Fitness as Default: the evolutionary basis of cognitive complexity reduction
    Author(s) : Francis Heylighen
    Abstract : Given that knowledge consists of finite models of an infinitely complex reality, how can we explain that it is still most of the time reliable? Survival in a variable environment requires an internal model whose complexity (variety) matches the complexity of the environment that is to be controlled. The reduction of the infinite complexity of the sensed environment to a finite map requires a strong mechanism of categorization. A measure of cognitive complexity (C) is defined, which quantifies the average amount of trial-and-error needed to find the adequate category. C can be minimized by "probability ordering" of the possible categories, where the most probable alternatives ("defaults") are explored first. The reduction of complexity by such ordering requires a low statistical entropy for the cognized environment. This entropy is automatically kept down by the natural selection of "fit" configurations. The high probability, "default" cognitive categorizations are then merely mappings of environmentally "fit" configurations.
    Keywords : cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, decision theory, epistemology

    Subject : unspecified
    Area : Other
    Language : English
    Year : 1994

    Affiliations Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels
    Publisher : World Science, Singapore
    Pages : 1595-1602
    Url : http://cogprints.org/314/

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    Francis's Peer Evaluation activity

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