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Dr. Òscar Vilarroya has published a new article talking about cognitive neuroscience and evolution.


Evolutionary theory should be a fundamental guide for neuroscientists. This would seem a trivial statement, but I believe that taking it seriously is more complicated than it appears to be, as I argue in this article. Elsewhere, I proposed the notion of “bounded functionality” As a way to describe the constraints that should be considered when trying to understand the evolution of the brain. There are two bounded-functionality constraints that are essential to any evolution-minded approach to cognitive neuroscience. The first constraint, the bricoleur constraint, describes the evolutionary pressure for any adaptive solution to re-use any relevant resources available to the system before the selection situation appeared. The second constraint, the satisficing constraint, describes the fact that a trait only needs to behave more advantageously than its competitors in order to be selected. In this paper I describe how bounded-functionality can inform an evolutionary-minded approach to cognitive neuroscience. In order to do so, I resort to Nikolaas Tinbergen’s four questions about how to understand behavior, namely: function, causation, development and evolution. The bottom line of assuming Tinbergen’s questions is that any approach to cognitive neuroscience is intrinsically tentative, slow, and messy.

You can see it at the following link:

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