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Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making$
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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

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Robustness in Biological and Social Systems

Robustness in Biological and Social Systems

(p.129) 8 Robustness in Biological and Social Systems
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making

Jessica C. Flack

Peter Hammerstein

David C. Krakauer

The MIT Press

Defined as the invariance of system structure or function following a nontrivial perturbation to one or more important system components, robustness is a characteristic property of all adaptive systems. This chapter reviews the theory of robustness in biology, the design of experiments used to assay robustness (including the functional behavior or outputs of a system), and the adaptive response of those parts or components which are compromised by a perturbation. Emphasis is given to a rigorous logic of measurement that carefully factors apart the many causal contributions to robust function. Insights from the study of robustness in biology are applied to the social and decision-making domains, and modifications of experimental design and theory are proposed to account for challenges unique to human agents.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, decision making, robustness, action planning, decision algorithms, patch leaving, selection, social information seeking

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