PhD ceremony: Mr. M. van Duijn, 14.30 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: The biocognitive spectrum. Biological cognition as variations on sensorimotor coordination
Promotor(s): prof. T.A.F. Kuipers
Van Duijn’s dissertation develops a new theory on biological cognition, or biocognition: The process by which motile organisms adaptively coordinate their sensors and effectors in order to optimize the external conditions for their metabolism. Contrary to most well-known theoretical approaches to cognition, which presume that brains are necessary for natural forms of cognition, Van Duijn shows that biocognition already applies to organisms without a brain or nervous system, such as bacteria.
Van Duijn discusses bacterial chemotaxis as a form of sensorimotor coordination that provides an example of minimal cognition, the most elementary form of biocognition. By detecting and moving along chemical gradients using a primitive, molecular form of memory, bacteria such as E. coli are able to find an optimal physico-chemical environment to sustain their metabolic functions. Another central claim in the thesis is that sensorimotor coordination is the cornerstone of the vast spectrum of biocognitive abilities that can be found throughout the phylogenetic tree, from bacterial chemotaxis to human cognition. That is, bacterial chemotaxis and human cognition are first and foremost biological regulatory mechanisms that are variations on the same theme that has been reinvented and expanded upon many times throughout evolution. Bacterial cognition and human cognition make-up two opposite ends of a vast biocognitive spectrum with sensorimotor coordination as its common currency. This theory of biocognition grounds the growing consensus that the phylogenetic and ontogenetic basis of natural cognition lies in sensorimotor coordination, and develops a biogenic approach to cognition that merges cognitive science with biology.
Prof. Moniek Tromp has been appointed Captain of Science of the Chemistry Top Sector by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. As from 1 July 2023, she succeeded Prof. Bert Weckhuysen from Utrecht University.
Leonardo Arriagada Beltran conducted his PhD research on the interface of computer-generated art and the constantly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He will defend his Phd thesis on 21 September. His research offers valuable insights...
Harish Vedantham and Casper van der Kooi have been nominated by New Scientist for Wetenschapstalent 2023 (Science Talent 2023). This election is meant to give young scientists and their research a stage.
The UG website uses functional and anonymous analytics cookies. Please answer the question of whether you want to accept
or reject other cookies (such as tracking cookies).
If no choice is made, only basic cookies will be stored. More information