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Behaviour as a complex adaptive system: On the role of self-organization in the development of individual and collective behaviour

By Stefano Nolfi


In this paper we will explicit the complex system and adaptive nature of behaviour. The complex system nature of behaviour derives from the fact that behaviour and behavioural properties are phenomena that occur at a given time scale and result from several non-linear interactions occur-ring at a smaller time scale. Interactions occur in time (i.e. consists of a sequence events in which future interactions are constrained by preceding interactions) and might eventually consists of a vector of concurrent interactions. Moreover we argued that behaviour might involve several emergent dynamical processes, hierarchically organized, that affect each others bottom-up and top-down. The adaptive system nature of behaviour derives from the fact that, due to the very indi-rect relationship between the properties of the interacting elements and the emergent results of the interactions, behavioural systems can hardly be designed while can be effectively synthesized on the basis of a self-organization process (in which properties emerging from interactions can be discovered and retained through an adaptive process based on exploration and selection). These two claims will be demonstrated in two concrete examples involving mobile robots in which non-trivial individual and collective behaviour have been synthesized through an evolutionary tech

Year: 2005
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