William Baum: Phylogenetically Important Events

Evolutionary theory explains species-specific behavior and ontogenic changes of behavior in specimens. Phylogenetically important events induce concurrence of the related activities for the time.

«Phylogenetically important» events, PIEs, participate in concurrent reproduction of specimens. «Good» PIEs promote reproduction: mates, prey, water and shelter. «Bad» PIEs hamper reproduction: predators, illnesses, injuries.

Specimens compete better for reproduction in an ecological niche, when they spend more time with good PIEs. Hence, PIEs induce concurrence of the related activities for the time in any living organism.

Feeding is phylogenetically important: evolution of lions is a concurrent reproduction of specimens that eat enough and hunt successfully few days after last feeding.

Lions feeding cycle lasts few days. A passage of time since last feeding induces concurrence of hunting with resting, copulating and looking after the offspring.

In experiments on «latent learning» food induces delayed concurrence of feeding activities with others. Analogically, mammalians and avians in the natural environment hide the food for later consumption, sometimes months later.

Experiments on «sensory preconditioning» show «neutral events» as phylogenetically important. Analogically, in experiments on «sensory reinforcement» visual, audial and tactile events function as PIEs.

Phylogenetically important events are behavioral events: feeding, drinking, copulating; and physical events: food, shelter, mates.

Good PIEs induce concurrence of the related activities for the time: food consumption, building a shelter or sexual intercourse. Bad PIEs induce concurrence of the preventing activities for the time: hiding from predators, avoiding poisonous food and injuries.

Evolutionary theory explains species-specific behavior and ontogenic changes of behavior in specimens. Phylogenetically important events induce concurrence of the related activities for the time.

Text adaptation: Timur Kuritsyn

Cover art: Veronika Pachina

Original text: Baum, W. M. (2013). What counts as behavior? The molar multiscale view. The Behavior Analyst, 36(2), 283–293.

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