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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 46 through 60 of 77 found.


Earth Life Emergence: Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies

Earth Life > Nest > Symbiotic

West-Eberhard, Mary Anne. Modularity as a Universal Emergent Property of Biological Traits. Journal of Experimental Zoology B. Online November, 2019. In another response to John Bonnerís call to revise evolutionary theory due to major transitions, the senior Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, University of Costa Rica field and theoretical biologist extols the formative importance of natureís structural preference for a scale of self-contained whole units nested within larger, bounded entities. This deep propensity is then seen to serve all manner of biological features and viabilities.

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Papageorgiou, Danai, et al. The Multilevel Society of a Small-Brained Bird. Current Biology. 29/21, 2019. Seven researchers mainly at MPI Animal Behavior including Iain Couzin, along with Brendah Nyaguthii at the University of Eldoret, Kenya, quantify how even ground-dwelling avians form typical complex viable groupings with many interactive members. The work merited a N, Y. Times science review Tiny Brains Donít Stop These Birds from Having a Complex Society by Elizabeth Preston on Nov. 4, 2019. We also cite as an example of how all manner of creatures take to this similar communal form, as if due to and exemplifying an independent structural source.

Animal societies can be organized in multiple hierarchical tiers. Such multilevel societies, where stable groups move together through the landscape, associating with specific other groups, are thought to represent one of the most complex forms of social structure in vertebrates. Here, we provide detailed quantitative evidence for the presence of a multilevel society in a small-brained bird, the vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum). We demonstrate that this species lives in large, multi-male, multi-female groups. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Sosna, Matthew, et al. Individual and Collective Encoding of Risk in Animal Groups. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116/20556, 2019. A seven person group from Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State (Bryan Daniels), Humboldt University and MPI Animal Behavior (Iain Couzin) well quantify that a dynamic mutual interactivity of member creatures within their overall flock, troop, clan,, pod or herd and serves an optimum survival. Each entity is seen to possess a vital degree of autonomy and liberty rather than subservience to a communal totality. Once again, a complementary, ubuntu-like reciprocity seems to prevail across Metazoan species.

Many biological systems exhibit an emergent ability to process information about their environment. This collective cognition occurs due to the behavior of components and of their interactions, yet the relative importance of the two is often hard to disentangle. Here, we combined experiments and modeling to study how fish schools encode information about the external environment. We find that risk is mainly encoded in the physical structure of groups, which individuals modulate to augment or dampen behavioral cascades. We show that this modulation causes overall reactions to spread and allows collective systems to be responsive to their environments. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Vannier, Jean, et al. Collective Behavior in 480 Million Year Old Trilobite Arthropods from Morocco. Nature Scientific Reports. 9/14941, 2019. Into this worldwise 21st century, a nine person French, Swiss and Moroccan team reconstruct how even these early invertebrates can be found to possess a sociality which served both individual and group survival. Today however, as public strife roils France, North Africa, and far beyond, how might such ancient forebears teach and guide us altogether to live in viable, mutually caring communities?

Interactions and coordination between conspecific individuals have produced a remarkable variety of collective behaviours. This co-operation occurs in vertebrate and invertebrate animals and is well expressed in the group flight of birds, fish shoals and highly organized activities of social insects. How individuals interact to constitute group-level patterns has been studied in extant animals through functional and theoretical approaches. Here monospecific linear clusters of trilobite arthropods from the lower Ordovician are interpreted as a societal activity due to hydrodynamic cues in detected by motion and touch sensors, or from reproduction behaviour as sexually mature conspecifics migrate to spawning grounds. This study confirms that collective groupings have an ancient origin and throughout the Cambrian-Ordovician interval. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Aboitiz, Francisco and Juan Montiel. Morphological Evolution of the Vertebrate Forebrain: From Mechanical to Cellular Processes. Evolution & Development. 21/6, 2019. While relative brain anatomies vary with the animal classes, Chilean neuroscientists (search) add another report of the presence of consistent, homologous features. Thus, one may speak of a genetically based neurogenesis as life proceeds to evolve and develop from its earliest rudiments to our socially inquisitive selves.

Although the cerebral hemispheres are among the defining characters of vertebrates, each class is characterized by a different anatomical organization of this structure, which has become problematic for comparative neurobiology. In this article, we discuss some mechanisms involved in the generation of morphological divergence, based on spatial constraints for neurogenesis, mechanical forces generated by increasing neuronal numbers during development, and cellular strategies used by each group to overcome these limitations. We expect this view to help unify the diverging vertebrate brain morphologies into general, simple mechanisms that can establish homologies across groups. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Karten, Harvey. Vertebrate Brains and Evolutionary Connectomics: On the Origins of the Mammalian Neocortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 370/0060.2015, 2015. The veteran UC San Diego neurophysician continues his flow of findings that while animal classes differ, persistent commonalities can be discerned by the latest sophisticated analysis, aka cerebral connectomics over time. See Morphological Evolution of the Vertebrate Forebrain: From Mechanical to Cellular Processes by Francisco Aboitiz and Juan Montiel (herein) in Evolution & Development (21/6, 2019) for similar confirmations.

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Allen, Jenny. Community through Culture from Insects to Whales. BioEssays. Online October, 2019. After some two decades of wide ranging, clever studies, a Griffiths University, Australia environmental philosopher can now aver that a variety of creaturely groupings such as insects, fishes, elephants, and cetaceans are graced by behavioral attributes of cooperative foraging, resource sharing, educating young, many ways to communicate, and so on. While not overly anthropomorphic, a familiar suite of human-like social activities is quite evident. See also, e.g., Cultural Flies by Etienne Danchin, et al in Science (362/1025, 2018) about fruit fly relations.

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Hagoort, Peter, ed. Human Language: From Genes and Brains to Behavior. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2019. The MPI Psycholinguistics scholar gathers 49 expert chapters into eight Cognitive Architectures, The Development of Language, Communication Before and With Language, Modeling Language, Functional Meurobiology of Language, Neuroanatomy of Language,The Genetics of Language, and Animal Models of Language sections. We note The Genetic Bases of Brain Lateralization by Clyde Francks, Mental Representations for Language by Ray Jackendorf, and The Comparative Approach to the Biology and Evolution of Language by W. Tecumseh Fitch.

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Somatic

De Arcangelis, Lucilla and Hans Herrmann. Learning as a Phenomenon Occurring in a Critical State. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107/3977, 2010. We cite this paper by University of Naples and ETH Zurich biophysicists for its earlier glimpse of how the brainís critical poise between disorder and order serves the access and gain of new knowledge. See 2019 papers in the Integrated Information section for robust confirmations of this optimum facility.

Recent physiological measurements have provided clear evidence about scale-free avalanche brain activity and EEG spectra, addressing the classical enigma of how a chaotic system can learn or respond in a controlled and reproducible way. We propose that brain activity having features typical of systems at a critical point represents a crucial ingredient for learning. Our model is able to reproduce quantitatively the experimentally observed critical state of the brain and, at the same time, learns and remembers logical rules including the exclusive OR. Learning thus occurs via plastic adaptation of synaptic strengths and exhibits universal features. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Somatic

Torre, Kjerstin, et al. Fractal Properties in Sensorimotor Variability Unveil Internal Adaptations of the Organism before Symptomatic Functional Decline. Nature Scientific Reports. 9/15736, 2019. University of Montpelier, France neurophysiologists provide a robust technical illustration to date of how a personís course from a viable somatic fractal geometry to its debilitating loss can be availed as a good measure of relative health or illness. So it does seem our fates may lie in the same mathematics and geometries that suffuse the stellar raiment.

If health can be defined as adaptability, then measures of this feature are crucial. Convergent findings across clinical areas have established that fractal properties in bio-behavioural variability can express a personís healthy condition, and its adaptive capacities in general. However, the literature mainly discriminates between healthy vs. pathological states, rather than a course in between. We show that distinct types of fractal properties in sensorimotor behaviour characterize impaired functional ability, along with internal adaptations for maintaining performance despite the imposed constraints. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Cerebral Form

Bertolero, Maxwell and Danielle Bassett. On the Nature of Explanations Offered by Network Science: A Perspective from and for Neuroscientists. arXiv:1911.05031. In this paper to appear in a special issue of Topics in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania neuroscientists post an illustrated tutorial on the latest research about how our cerebral activities are based on and empowered by myriad, scintillating, multiplex neural nets. What began as patchy rudiments around 2010 has now become a whole-scale theoretical and experimental explanation from nodal neurons to an infinity of relational linkages. Altogether dubbed a connectome, as 2020 nears we human beings are finding ourselves to truly be an exemplary micro-universe. See also Discovering the Computational Relevance of Brain Network Organization by Takuya Ito, et al in Trends in Cognitive Science (online November 2019).

Network neuroscience represents the brain as a collection of regions and inter-regional connections. By this ability, the approach has generated unique explanations of neural function and behavior. Here we complement formal philosophical efforts by providing an applied perspective. In doing so, we rely on philosophical work concerning the role of causality, scale, and mechanisms in scientific explanations. We hope to provide a useful framework in which can be exercised across scales and combined with other fields of neuroscience to gain deeper insights into the brain and behavior. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Complementary Brain

Li, Mike, et al. Transitions in Information Processing Dynamics at the Whole-Brain Network Level are Driven by Alterations in Neural Gain. PLoS Computational Biology. Online October, 2019. University of Sydney, Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, and Stanford University systems neuroscientists including Joseph Lizier provide another window upon how and why cerebral cognition proceeds by way of an active sequence and balance of bringing together and moving apart, which conceives a one and/or many optimum complementarity.

A key component of the complex flexibility of the brain is its ability to adapt its functional network structure between integrated and segregated brain states. Integrated states are prevalent for tasks such as maintaining items in memory, consistent with models of a global workspace architecture. Recent work has suggested that the balance between integration and segregation is under the control of ascending neuromodulatory systems, via changes in neural gain. In this study, we show that the gain-mediated phase transition involves the dynamics of the subcritical (segregated) regime for information storage, whereas the supercritical (integrated) regime is associated with information transfer. Operating near to the critical regime with respect to modulating neural gain parameter appears to provide computational advantages which offer flexibility in the information processing. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Complementary Brain

Schore, Allan. The Development of the Unconscious Mind. New York: Norton, 2019. The UCLA sage psychiatrist (search) continues his appreciations of the role and interplay of the brain hemispheres with their right relational, emphatic, visionary and left particulate, isolate, analytic modes (two minds in one brain) to better understand and mitigate psychological maladies and behaviors. Iain McGilchristís 2009 volume is a prime resource and working guide about personal and social mores throughout life. (See Karen Armstrongís 2019 for a similar avail.) A special emphasis is upon their sequential influence in the earliest years from gestation to infancy, childhood and youth. The right field of view (We) side is primary from birth to the mid twos, when the left me, mine phase cuts in, much to the plight of boys. Deeper, palliative insights are thus gained into these community and independence, cooperate or compete options. (And as would serve our polarized politics, also global strife such as Hong Kong, a best resolve is a beneficial balance of these yin and yang complements.)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Conscious Knowledge

Khajehabdollahi, Sina, et al. Emergence of Integrated Information, Complexity, and Consciousness at Criticality. bioRxiv. January 15, 2019. Western University, Ontario physicists and a psychologist theorize that recent evidential perceptions of sentience rising in tandem with knowledge can be seen as seeking an optimum balanced state between relative order and disorder. See also Criticality as a Determinant of Integrated Information in Human Brain Networks by Hyoungkyu Kim and UnCheol Lee herein for a similar surmise.

Using the critical Ising model of the brain, integrated information as a measure of consciousness is evaluated by generic neural network models. Monte Carlo simulations are run on 159 random weighted networks analogous to small 5-node neural network motifs. The integrated information generated by this sample is quantified across the model parameter space. It is observed that integrated information, as a type of order parameter not unlike a concept like magnetism, undergoes a phase transition at the critical point in the model. This critical point is where the Ďconsciousnessí of the system is maximally at a boundary between an ordered and disordered form. This study adds further evidence to support that the emergence of consciousness coincides with the more universal patterns of self-organized criticality, evolution, the emergence of complexity, and the integration of complex systems. (Abstract excerpt)

This result, combined with a body of evidence highlighting the preferred state of critical systems suggests that, like many other complex phenomenon, consciousness may simply follow from/emerge out of the tendency of a system to self-organize to criticality. (1)

Earth Life > Integral Persons > Conscious Knowledge

Kim, Hyoungkyu and UnCheol Lee. Criticality as a Determinant of Integrated Information in Human Brain Networks. Entropy. 21/10, 2019. As this well quantified perception of a deep, evolutionary relation between sentient awareness and knowledge content grows in validity and employ, University of Michigan Medical School, Center for Consciousness Science researchers advise that a further feature seems to be an optimum state of critical poise between a more or less orderly condition. As being found everywhere from quantum physical bases to natural and social phases (see Critical Complementarity) cerebral phenomena likewise proceed to fine tune themselves in this way. A concurrent, independent paper Emergence of Integrated Information, Complexity, and Consciousness at Criticality (Sina Khajehabdollahi, herein) comes to the same finding.

Integrated information theory (IIT) describes consciousness as integrated across differentiated knowledgeable systems. However, in a complex dynamic brain, the optimal conditions for integrating information have not been elucidated. In this study, we propose that network criticality, a balanced state between a large variation in functional configuration and a large constraint on structural configuration, may be the basis of the emergence of an integrated information. We tested these hypotheses with a whole brain network model and high-density electroencephalography (EEG) during various levels of human consciousness under general anesthesia. The EEG study demonstrated an explicit relationship between criticality, and level of consciousness. (Abstract excerpt)

Criticality was originally introduced for studying phase transition in physics, simply defined as a balanced state between order and disorder. This property has been observed broadly in physical and non-physical systems and has been suggested as an optimal state for information storage, transmission, and integration. In particular, several computational modeling and empirical studies suggest that the brain dynamics associated with consciousness reside near a critical state. (1)

We demonstrated for the first time an explicit relationship between criticality, integrated information, and human consciousness with computational modeling and EEG analysis. We propose that network criticality is a condition for integrated information. Understanding this relationship may open a new way to study diverse states of consciousness situated near to and far from a critical state. (12)

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