Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Hammerstein and Jeffrey R. Stevens

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018081

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018081.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Machinery of Cognition

Machinery of Cognition

(p.39) 3 Machinery of Cognition
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making

Charles R. Gallistel

The MIT Press

A Darwinian approach to decision-making mechanisms must focus on the representation of the options between which the animal decides. For example, in matching behavior, is the animal deciding between the different locations in which to forage or simply whether to leave its current location? A neurobiologically informed approach must be concerned with the mechanism of representation itself. In the computational theory of mind, options are represented by the symbols that carry information about them forward in time. In conventional computing machines, symbols reside in an addressable read–write memory. Current theorizing about the neurobiological mechanism of memory rejects this form of memory in favor of an associative memory. The problem is that the associative bond—and its neurobiological embodiment, the plastic synapse—is not suited to the function of carrying acquired information forward in time in a computationally accessible form. It is argued that this function is indispensable. Therefore, there must be such a mechanism in neural tissue, most probably realized at the molecular level.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, decision making, cognition, matching behavior, memory, associative memory

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.