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Decision-making

Searching for universal mechanisms of decision-making

All life forms on earth need to make decisions in one form or another in order to survive, secure the production of offspring, or design and occupy their specific niches in our ecosystem earth. Given a rational, emotional or environmental background, decisions are taken depending on a number of boundary conditions. Decision-making implies deriving output variables from input variables at various different organizational levels. But are there in spite of all the differences some underlying universal mechanisms?

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Decision-making: not only a human trait?

In everyday life, humans constantly are making decisions alone or together with others. They are aware of themselves. We tend to believe that we are coming to conscious and informed decisions. In contrast, simple life forms, e.g. hydra or slime molds, do not have a brain, or do not even possess a neuronal network. Nevertheless, they exhibit complex behavior in order to make an optimal decision securing their survival. More generally, formulating “decision making” as searching for an optimal solution encompasses processes in non-living systems as they occur, e.g., in logistics, telecommunications, or robotics.

Poster

Ring lecture series

At universities in Bremen, research on decision-making spans from the humanities and the social sciences via engineering disciplines to the natural sciences. A wide variety of disciplines at the University of Bremen and the Jacobs University are actively contributing to this exciting field of research. In a series of biweekly lectures, speakers will present various disciplines and their specific perspectives: What are the mechanisms of these decision processes? Are there common universal properties of decision making independent of the species or specific systems?

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