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Behavior analysis and biology: Searching for a principle of behavioral selection
Darwin’s work on evolution through natural selection is routinely cited as providing a model for the search for a principle of behavioral selection. However, researchers soon departed from the Darwinian approach of basing the principle on a careful analysis of the observed environmental events and their corresponding observable behavioral characteristics. Instead, for these researchers, the purpose of observing behavior was not to refine the selection principle but to provide a basis for inferences about the underlying processes and structures thought to produce the behavior. This departure from the Darwinian model led ultimately to what is commonly known as the “cognitive revolution” in psychology. Two talks will describe work seeking a principle of behavioral selection and its neural mechanisms. In the first talk, research is described that refines our understanding of behavioral selection and explores some of its implications for the development of complex behavior. In the second talk, the neural mechanisms that implement behavioral selection are described. A synthesis of behavioral and neural research on the principle of behavioral selection makes possible an understanding of the important phenomena of memory and language that are the objects of the cognitive revolution.

Jun 10, 2022 02:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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