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Minimal intelligence across Eukaryota

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‘Minimal intelligence’ is a biological function of self-organizing living systems that exhibit some flexibility in their behavioral repertoires. Sensorimotor coordination, perception, or basic forms of memory and learning, are all in principle marks of minimal intelligence. Although forms of minimal ...

‘Minimal intelligence’ is a biological function of self-organizing living systems that exhibit some flexibility in their behavioral repertoires. Sensorimotor coordination, perception, or basic forms of memory and learning, are all in principle marks of minimal intelligence. Although forms of minimal intelligence are likely to be already present in Eubacteria and Archaea, this Research Topic will only take into consideration discussions of minimal intelligence within Eukarya. This includes both unicellular and multicellular organisms; organisms with simple nervous systems, and organisms that lack a nervous system altogether. Examples of protoctista, plant, fungi and animal intelligence, with the exception of chordates (e.g., mammals, fish, reptiles and birds), all fall within the scope of this call.

Our attempt is to parcel out a set of conditions for minimal intelligence across living systems; to understand what sort of behavioral and biological properties and capacities warrant the ascription of a form of minimal intelligence to eukaryotes; and to build up ultimately from simpler to more complex life forms. Topics of interest include the analysis of sensory and perceptual capacities, simple forms of learning (associative and non-associative), varieties of memory, goal-oriented behavior, controlled movement, communication with conspecifics and others, decision-making, problem solving, and related properties and capacities as realized by different biological organisms.

Both empirical and theoretical research in the biological and cognitive sciences will be considered. Ecological, embodied, enactive and situated approaches, and cognitivist, constructivist or brain-based ones are equally welcome. Comparative studies across species of organisms that highlight the commonalities are likewise welcome. Mathematical modeling and artificial intelligence research will be considered too provided that they connect in an explicit manner with the empirical literature.


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