Trond Arild Tjøstheim defended his PhD-thesis 'Contours of Cognition', September 19, 2022
This thesis concerns the nature of cognition. It posits that cognitive processes primarily are means to maintain allostasis in organisms whose ecological niches require movement to approach food-resources and avoid predation. Hence triggering, or motivation, of behaviours are a consequence of prediction errors from the body resulting from biological variables moving away from homeostasis.
Depending on circumstance and the nature of the particulars of the ecological niche, an organism may require the ability to find the way to a goal-site containing food or water, perceive its surroundings in order to trigger allostatic behaviour, make choices and priorities, and predict outcomes. Hence, cognition is situated in a larger context of staying alive, but efforts are also made to zoom in on exactly how some important cognitive processes may plausibly work, on the level of neural units and networks. These processes include visual perception, spatial cognition, predictive simulation processes (intelligence), and familiarity based trust, as well as reflection, decision-making, and memory.
Link to: PhD thesis