Model Organisms for Studying Decision-Making: a Phylogenetically Expanded Perspective

Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
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Abstract
This paper explores the use of model organisms in studying the cognitive phenomenon of decision-making. Drawing on the framework of biological control to develop a skeletal conception of decision-making, we show that two core features of decision-making mechanisms can be identified by studying model organisms, such as E. coli, jellyfish, C. elegans, lamprey, etc. First, decision mechanisms are distributed and heterarchically-structured. Second, they depend heavily on chemical information processing, such as those involving neuromodulators. We end by discussing the implications for studying distinctively human decision-making.
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Archival date: 2021-06-03
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