A Functional Perspective on Visual Self-recognition

[Speaker] Butler, David L:1
[Co-author] Suddendorf, Thomas:2
1:Kyoto University (Japan), 2:University of Queensland (Australia)

Tinbergen proposed that we need to understand and explain any given behaviour (e.g., visual self-recognition; VSR) in relation to four main questions: development, mechanisms, evolution, and function. Arguably, whilst researchers investigating VSR have devoted considerable effort to developmental, mechanistic, and evolutionary perspectives, there is an absence of evidence concerning possible functions. Here, within the context of evolutionary currency (survival and reproduction) I will discuss whether VSR is most likely an adaptation (i.e., directly increases chances of survival and/or reproduction), a by-product (i.e., it accompanies an adaptive trait but itself does not impact on survival or reproduction), or simply noise (i.e., conferring neither advantages or disadvantages for survival or reproduction). Using a Tinbergian framework, proposals are offered as to how a better understanding of the possible functions associated with VSR can be better elucidated.
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