A Phylogenetic Perspective on Distributed Decision-Making Mechanisms

AbstractThis paper challenges a common assumption about decision- making mechanisms in humans: decision making is a distinctively high-level cognitive activity implemented by mechanisms concentrated in the higher-level areas of the cortex. We argue instead that human behavior is controlled by a multiplicity of highly distributed, heterarchically organized decision-making mechanisms. We frame it in terms of control mechanisms that procure and evaluate information to select activities of controlled mechanisms and adopt a phylogenetic perspective, showing how decision-making is realized in control mechanisms in a variety of species. We end by discussing this picture's implication for high-level cognitive decision-making.

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