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Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät - Jahrgang 2008



Neural dynamics of social behavior
An evolutionary and mechanistic perspective on communication, cooperation, and competition among situated agents


Steffen Wischmann




Social behavior can be found on almost every level of life, ranging from microorganisms to human societies. However, explaining the evolutionary emergence of cooperation, communication, or competition still challenges modern biology. The most common approaches to this problem are based on game-theoretic models. The problem is that these models often assume fixed and limited rules and actions that individual agents can choose from, which excludes the dynamical nature of the mechanisms that underlie the behavior of living systems. So far, there exists a lack of convincing modeling approaches to investigate the emergence of social behavior from a mechanistic and evolutionary perspective.
Instead of studying animals, the methodology employed in this thesis combines several aspects from alternative approaches to study behavior in a rather novel way. Robotic models are considered as individual agents which are controlled by recurrent neural networks representing non-linear dynamical system. The topology and parameters of these networks are evolved following an open-ended evolution approach, that is, individuals are not evaluated on high-level goals or optimized for specific functions. Instead, agents compete for limited resources to enhance their chance of survival. Further, there is no restriction with respect to how individuals interact with their environment or with each other. more...

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© Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn | Veröffentlicht: 2008