Niche Construction and Cognitive Evolution

Biological Theory 2 (3):250-262 (2007)
Despite the fact that animal behavior involves a particularly powerful form of niche construction, few researchers have considered how the environmental impact of behavior may feed back to influence the evolution of the cognitive underpinnings of behavior. I explore a model that explicitly incorporates niche construction while tracking cognitive evolution. Agents and their stimuli are modeled as coevolving populations. The agents are born with “weights” attached to behaviors in a repertoire. Further, these agents are able to change these weights based on previous success and an inherited learning parameter. Both the agent and the stimulus receive payoffs through a behavioral interaction . The behaving agent exhibits niche construction through its effects on stimuli , which can feed back to influence the value of different cognitive strategies. Here I focus on two forms of niche construction: the stimulus and responding agent have common interests and the stimulus and agent have dissimilar interests . The form of niche construction qualitatively affects cognitive evolution . Given a mutualism between the stimulus and responding agent, rapid learning and “fixed” behavioral distributions evolve. Given an antagonism between the stimulus and agent, slower learning and “flexible” behavioral distributions evolve. I discuss these results in light of findings from the fields of ethology, psychology, and evolutionary ecology
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1162/biot.2007.2.3.250
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Innateness and the Sciences.Matteo Mameli & Patrick Bateson - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):155-188.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Niche Construction: A Pervasive Force in Evolution?Wim J. van der Steen - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):162-163.
Minds: Extended or Scaffolded? [REVIEW]Kim Sterelny - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):465-481.
Niche Construction Earns its Keep.Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee & Marcus W. Feldman - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):164-172.
Human Creativity, Cultural Evolution, and Niche Construction.Dean Keith Simonton - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):159-160.
Human Nature and Cognitive–Developmental Niche Construction.Karola Stotz - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):483-501.
Ecosystem Engineering, Experiment, and Evolution.Trevor Pearce - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (6):793-812.
Niche-Construction, Co-Evolution, and Domain-Specificity.James R. Hurford - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):526-526.
Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution (Review).David L. Hull - 2004 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 47 (2):314-316.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #242,936 of 2,154,091 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #398,005 of 2,154,091 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums