Month: June 2019

Neurath’s boat and the Sally-Anne test: Life, Cognition, Matter and Stuff

Making sense of the world around us is likened to the task of staying afloat on a stormy sea while rebuilding our craft of ideas and concepts as we go. This metaphor is pursued through successive stages of cognitive development, and more sophisticated appreciation of multiple perspectives; from pre-theoretical to folk science to the theoretical, from individual to social to inter-subjective agreement. This inescapably generates reflections on the relationships between embodied and situated Life and Cognition.


Neurath’s boat and the Sally-Anne test: Life, Cognition, Matter and Stuff
Inman Harvey
Adaptive Behavior


What happened to cognitive science?

More than a half-century ago, the ‘cognitive revolution’, with the influential tenet ‘cognition is computation’, launched the investigation of the mind through a multidisciplinary endeavour called cognitive science. Despite significant diversity of views regarding its definition and intended scope, this new science, explicitly named in the singular, was meant to have a cohesive subject matter, complementary methods and integrated theories. Multiple signs, however, suggest that over time the prospect of an integrated cohesive science has not materialized. Here we investigate the status of the field in a data-informed manner, focusing on four indicators, two bibliometric and two socio-institutional. These indicators consistently show that the devised multi-disciplinary program failed to transition to a mature inter-disciplinary coherent field. Bibliometrically, the field has been largely subsumed by (cognitive) psychology, and educationally, it exhibits a striking lack of curricular consensus, raising questions about the future of the cognitive science enterprise.


What happened to cognitive science?
Rafael Núñez, Michael Allen, Richard Gao, Carson Miller Rigoli, Josephine Relaford-Doyle & Arturs Semenuks
Nature Human Behaviour (2019)


The physics of governance networks: critical transitions in contagion dynamics on multilayer adaptive networks with application to the sustainable use of renewable resources

Adaptive networks are a versatile approach to model phenomena such as contagion and spreading dynamics, critical transitions and structure formation that emerge from the dynamic coevolution of complex network structure and node states. Here, we study critical transitions in contagion dynamics on multilayer adaptive networks with dynamic node states and present an application to the governance of sustainable resource use. We focus on a three layer adaptive network model, where a polycentric governance network interacts with a social network of resource users which in turn interacts with an ecological network of renewable resources. We uncover that sustainability is favored for slow interaction timescales, large homophilic network adaptation rate (as long it is below the fragmentation threshold) and high taxation rates. Interestingly, we also observe a trade-off between an eco-dictatorship (reduced model with a single governance actor that always taxes unsustainable resource use) and the polycentric governance network of multiple actors. In the latter setup, sustainability is enhanced for low but hindered for high tax rates compared to the eco-dictatorship case. These results highlight mechanisms generating emergent critical transitions in contagion dynamics on multilayer adaptive network and show how these can be understood and approximated analytically, relevant for understanding complex adaptive systems from various disciplines ranging from physics and epidemiology to sociology and global sustainability science. The paper also provides insights into potential critical intervention points for policy in the form of taxes in the governance of sustainable renewable resource use that can inform more process-detailed social-ecological modeling.


The physics of governance networks: critical transitions in contagion dynamics on multilayer adaptive networks with application to the sustainable use of renewable resources
Fabian Geier, Wolfram Barfuss, Marc Wiedermann, Jürgen Kurths, Jonathan F. Donges


Turing patterns mediated by network topology in homogeneous active systems

Mechanisms of pattern formation—of which the Turing instability is an archetype—constitute an important class of dynamical processes occurring in biological, ecological, and chemical systems. Recently, it has been shown that the Turing instability can induce pattern formation in discrete media such as complex networks, opening up the intriguing possibility of exploring it as a generative mechanism in a plethora of socioeconomic contexts. Yet much remains to be understood in terms of the precise connection between network topology and its role in inducing the patterns. Here we present a general mathematical description of a two-species reaction-diffusion process occurring on different flavors of network topology. The dynamical equations are of the predator-prey class that, while traditionally used to model species population, has also been used to model competition between antagonistic features in social contexts. We demonstrate that the Turing instability can be induced in any network topology by tuning the diffusion of the competing species or by altering network connectivity. The extent to which the emergent patterns reflect topological properties is determined by a complex interplay between the diffusion coefficients and the localization properties of the eigenvectors of the graph Laplacian. We find that networks with large degree fluctuations tend to have stable patterns over the space of initial perturbations, whereas patterns in more homogenous networks are purely stochastic.


Turing patterns mediated by network topology in homogeneous active systems
Sayat Mimar, Mariamo Mussa Juane, Juyong Park, Alberto P. Muñuzuri, and Gourab Ghoshal
Phys. Rev. E 99, 062303


Average Fitness Differences on NK Landscapes

The average fitness difference between adjacent sites in a fitness landscape is an important descriptor that impacts in particular the dynamics of selection/mutation processes on the landscape. Of particular interest is its connection to the error threshold phenomenon. We show here that this parameter is intimately tied to the ruggedness through the landscape’s amplitude spectrum. For the NK model, a surprisingly simple analytical estimate explains simulation data with high precision.


Average Fitness Differences on NK Landscapes
Wim Hordijk, Stuart A. Kauffman, Peter F. Stadler

Theory in Biosciences