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Transitions in Brain Evolution: Space, Time and Entropy

Jeffery, KJ; Rovelli, C; (2020) Transitions in Brain Evolution: Space, Time and Entropy. Trends in Neurosciences , 43 (7) pp. 467-474. 10.1016/j.tins.2020.04.008.

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Abstract

How did brains evolve to become so complex, and what is their future? Brains pose an explanatory challenge because entropy, which inexorably increases over time, is commonly associated with disorder and simplicity. Recently we showed how evolution is an entropic process, building structures – organisms – which themselves facilitate entropy growth. Here we suggest that key transitional points in evolution extended organisms’ reach into space and time, opening channels into new regions of a complex multidimensional state space that also allow entropy to increase. Brain evolution enabled representation of space and time, which vastly enhances this process. Some of these channels lead to tiny, dead-ends in the state space: the persistence of complex life is thus not thermodynamically guaranteed.

Type: Article
Title: Transitions in Brain Evolution: Space, Time and Entropy
Location: England
DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2020.04.008
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2020.04.008
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: brain, complexity, entropy, evolution, free energy, space, state space
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102963
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