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Brain Behav Evol. 2004;63(4):193-6.

Introduction: ecology and the central nervous system.

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Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Que., Canada.


Behavioral ecology, the study of the survival value or function of behavior, has developed for a time by confining cognition to convenient black boxes that were assumed to be rigged by natural selection to direct an animal to the right decision for a given set of circumstances. However, the interpretation of test results concerning functional hypotheses about behavior depends crucially on assumptions made about their ability to collect and process information: cognition. Clearly, progress in behavioral ecology requires that the cognitive black boxes be opened and studied. This need coincides with an explosive growth of interest in animal cognition that has promoted and enhanced the level of interaction between behavioral ecologists and animal cognition scientists. The result promises to be profitable to the extent that it will raise interest and research in a number of new areas such as the costs in terms of survival value of evolving increased cognitive capacity or even the possibility of exploring brain morphology using a functional approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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