Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection

By Gerald M. Edelman | Go to book overview

11
Selection, Learning,
and Behavior

Adaptive aspects of behavior and learning 292 · Reevaluation of classical learning theory 293 · Context 295 · Surprise 296 · Representations and conditioning 298 · Bird song and neotenic learning 300 · Relation to critical periods 302 · Unified explanation of conditioning and neotenic learning 305 · The grand loop and the emergence of information processing 309


INTRODUCTION

The foregoing discussion of factors bearing upon neuronal group selection dealt with the evolution and development of sensorimotor systems and brains but did not emphasize the actual behavior that arises from perceptual categorization. Natural selection works, however, not upon perception but upon those phenotypes that give rise to behavior that is adaptive. Following the injunctions of Tinbergen ( 1942, 1951, 1963), we must therefore inquire into the functions, causes, development, and evolution of behavior as they touch upon the theory. The tack taken here will stress the first three issues, leaving many of the important ethological or evolutionary aspects relatively untouched. Evolved innate behavior patterns ( Gould 1982) can be quite complex and obviously have fundamental significance, but more extensive consideration of their origins would bear only indirectly upon the somatic selection processes that are the focus of this book. We shall, however, consider

-291-

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