Emergence of Anticipation at Multiple Time Scales

Date of Completion

January 2012


Psychology, Experimental




Members of all five kingdoms (Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia) exhibit some level of anticipatory behavior. Such generality of phenomenology suggests generality of principle. Beginning from the ubiquitous concept of synchronization, the phenomenon of anticipating synchronization is taken as candidate for such a principle. Anticipating synchronization is placed within the larger context of anticipatory systems that do not employ an internal model for explicit prediction of future states (weak anticipation), but rely on lawful, reactive behavior that places a system in implicit relation to the future of another (strong anticipation). The beneficial effect of delayed feedback in this regard is discussed and a new, general form for anticipatory coupling is developed. This general form allows for the specification of certain classes of anticipatory systems with differing phenomenology. Two experiments instantiate two of these coupling classes and establish the phenomenology of anticipatory behavior in human subjects. As an initial step towards discovering a more general anticipation principle, the parallels between theoretical and empirical behaviors are discussed. Finally, the implications for anticipation as an element of organism-environment dynamics lead to Liquid State Machine reservoirs as a possible model system and tool for the investigation of important properties of anticipatory systems. ^