Contours of Cognition

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

340 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Balkenius, Christian, Supervisor
  • Johansson, Birger, Supervisor
Award date2022 Sept 19
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
ISBN (Print)978-91-89415-23-2
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-89415-24-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 30

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2022-09-19
Time: 10:15
Place: LUX C121
External reviewer
Name: Martin V Butz
Title: professor
Affiliation: Universität Tübingen

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Free keywords

  • computational
  • cognitive
  • neuroscience
  • perception
  • memory
  • spatial cognition
  • trust
  • pupil dynamics
  • reflection
  • thinking
  • intelligence
  • reinforcement learning
  • foraging
  • allostasis
  • decision making


Dive into the research topics of 'Contours of Cognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this