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Slime mould: The fundamental mechanisms of biological cognition



Oscar Castro

Richard Mayne

Max Talanov

Michael Levin


Yukio Gunji

Audrey Dussutour

Hector Zenil


© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The slime mould Physarum polycephalum has been used in developing unconventional computing devices for in which the slime mould played a role of a sensing, actuating, and computing device. These devices treated the slime mould as an active living substrate, yet it is a self-consistent living creature which evolved over millions of years and occupied most parts of the world, but in any case, that living entity did not own true cognition, just automated biochemical mechanisms. To “rehabilitate” slime mould from the rank of a purely living electronics element to a “creature of thoughts” we are analyzing the cognitive potential of P. polycephalum. We base our theory of minimal cognition of the slime mould on a bottom-up approach, from the biological and biophysical nature of the slime mould and its regulatory systems using frameworks such as Lyon's biogenic cognition, Muller, di Primio-LengelerÅ› modifiable pathways, Bateson's “patterns that connect” framework, Maturana's autopoietic network, or proto-consciousness and Morgan's Canon.


Vallverdú, J., Castro, O., Mayne, R., Talanov, M., Levin, M., Baluška, F., …Adamatzky, A. (2018). Slime mould: The fundamental mechanisms of biological cognition. BioSystems, 165, 57-70.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 20, 2017
Publication Date Mar 1, 2018
Journal BioSystems
Print ISSN 0303-2647
Electronic ISSN 1872-8324
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 165
Pages 57-70
Keywords cognition, consciousness, slime mould
Public URL
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