The activity of a system that constructs a predictive model of itself, its environment, or both, in order to adapt itself to probable future change.
R. ROSEN found that such behavior is quite general in living systems of all kinds, even if at very different levels of systems complexity.
The notion of anticipatory behavior should be handled in a discerning way, in order to avoid logical contradictions: future events cannot of course exert influence on present ones, but what is now correlatively perceived or believed about what will probably or possibly happen, can. ROSEN gives the following example: "Many primitive organisms are negatively phototropic: they move toward darkness. Now, darkness in itself has no physiological significance; in itself it is biologically neutral. However darkness can be correlated to characteristics which are not physiologically neutral, e.g., with moisture or with the absence of sighted predators. The relation between darkness and such positive features composes a model through which the organism predicts that by moving toward darkness, it will gain an advantage" (1979, p.15).
This action of a present prediction upon the present behavior acts as a regulation or control and is called forward activation, the result of a feedforward.
ROSEN adds: "Of course this is not a conscious decision on the organism's part; the organism has no real option, because the model is, in effect "wired in" (p.544).
In animals with complex brains, however, particularly man, the model becomes much more complex and can evolve, becomes reflexive and self-corrective, and leads to changing goal-directness
An obvious conclusion, stated by ROSEN (p.557), is the need for ever-perfected predictive models, in order to improve anticipatory behavior. This field should urgently be researched upon as to the anticipatory behavior of social systems.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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