Acting on the World: Understanding How Agents Use Information to Guide Their Action

  • Jackie ChappellEmail author
Part of the Cognitive Systems Monographs book series (COSMOS, volume 22)


Most animals navigate a dynamic and shifting sea of information provided by their environment, their food or prey and other animals. How do they work out, which pieces of information are the most important or of most interest to them, and gather information on those parts to guide their action later? In this essay, I briefly outline what we already know about how animals use information flexibly and efficiently. I then discuss a few of the unsolved problems relating to how animals collect information by directing their attention or exploration selectively, before suggesting some approaches which might be useful in unravelling these problems.



First, I would like to acknowledge my deep gratitude to Aaron Sloman for many fascinating and stimulating discussions about information processing, evolution and exploration (among many other topics). These conversations have helped me helped me to approach these problems in a new and more productive way. I would also like to thank Nick Hawes, Zoe Demery and Emma Tecwyn for productive discussions on these topics.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BiosciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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