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Brain Behav Evol. 1988;31(3):125-40.

Seven principles for command and the neural causation of behavior.

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Behavioral Biology Group, Department of Biology (EPO), University of Colorado, Boulder.


The concept of command is central to motor control theories and explanations for the initiation of behavior patterns. As currently conceived, command is a process of individual command neurons that receive sensory and other integrative information and trigger the expression of behavioral acts. We show that this concept is an inadequate framework in which to discover the neural mechanisms underlying the decision and execution processes that occur when an animal begins a behavioral act. We herein propose a new concept of command which is based on a suite of principles. In this concept, command is a dynamic system property intermediate to neurophysiological and behavioral contexts and independent of preconceived causal paradigms, methods, or structures. We visualize command within a neurobehavioral or neuroethological context. This provisional concept provides a way of thinking, and an approach for discovering the neural processes that underlie behavioral performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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