Author(s): Lassalle JM
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Abstract In the natural setting, cognitive processes direct behavioural adjustments and sometimes result in behavioural novelties which allow the organism to cope with environmental pressures. The resulting behavioural changes exhibit various forms which are dependent upon different causal factors and cognitive processes. Under long-lasting environmental changes, these behavioural adaptations can become hereditary either through the process of cultural transmission or through genetic mechanisms sensitive to selective forces acting on genotypes. In the last few years, neuroethology and behavioural neurosciences have produced an increasing amount of precise knowledge about brain-behaviour relationships, neurobiological bases of cognitive processes and their development. Unfortunately, the approach to these phenomena is basically normative and does not tell us much about non-pathological determinants of individual variation in cognitive and behavioural competences. In contrast, the differential approach has provided some cases of structural variations in the brain which are under genetic control and thus liable to evolve under selective pressures. Brain size, the ratio of various brain structures to the total brain, the number and density of neurons in various parts of the brain and the variations of neuronal circuitry are potential candidates. This paper reviews them and examines their possible behavioural and cognitive outcomes. The issue here is to examine if and where in the brain potential conditions occur that would allow the genetic evolution of cognitive processes.
This article was published in Behav Processes
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies