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Eva Jablonka (Cohn Inst for History & Philosophy of Science, Tel Aviv Univ., Israel) Neural Transitions in Learning and Cognition
25 February 2021 | 16 h 00 min - 18 h 00 min
Eva Jablonka is professor emeritus at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University. In 1981 she was awarded the Landau prize of Israel for outstanding Master of Science (M.Sc.) work and in 1988, the Marcus prize for outstanding Ph.D. work. EvaJablonka publishes about evolutionary themes, especially epigenetics. Her emphasis on non-genetic forms of evolution has received interest from those attempting to expand the scope of evolutionist thinking into other spheres. Jablonka has been described as being in the vanguard of an ongoing revolution within evolutionary biology, and is a leading proponent of the extended evolutionary synthesis.
Abstract “Neural Transitions in Learning and Cognition”
A focus on learning as a marker of a cognitive system provides a unifying framework for experimental and theoretical studies of cognition in the living world. Focusing on neural learning, Simona Ginsburg and I identified five major neural transitions, the first two of which involve animals at the base of the phylogenetic tree: (i) the evolutionary transition from learning in non-neural animals to learning in the first neural animals; (ii) the transition to animals showing limited, elemental associative learning, entailing neural centralization and primary brain differentiation; (iii) the transition to animals capable of unlimited associative learning (UAL), which, on our account, constitutes sentience and entails hierarchical brain organization and dedicated memory and value networks, and (iv) the transition to imaginative animals that can plan and learn through selection among virtual events; (v) the transition to human, symbol-based cognition and cultural learning.
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