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This programme illustrates how the concept of goal is applicable to biological systems, in particular to the animal world. Three levels of goal are explored: the supergoal of gene perpetuation, the... goal of survival, eating or drinking, and the subgoal of attaining food & drink. The choice between food and drink is first explored in terms of the costs of alternating between food and drink at different rates. A series of animations are then used to illustrate how the regulation of eating and drinking can be explained in terms of the activity of neurons. The way individual neurons work is described, and this is followed by an explanation of the functioning of a network of neurons which dictate when a rat might eat or drink. The attainment of food - a subgoal - takes different forms for different animals. A variety of clips illustrate the techniques of chasing food, trapping food in situ., and targeting food. The idea of a cognitive map to recall where food is available is illustrated by sequences of a fox and a rat in action. Dr. Richard Dawkins of Oxford University explains that the concept of goal does not mean conscious choice for animals.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T241, Systems behaviour
Item code: T241; 07; 1983
First transmission date: 22-08-1983
Published: 1983
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:33
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Producer: Andrew Millington
Contributors: Richard Dawkins; Richard Morris; F. M.(Frederick M.) Toates
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Biological systems; Cognitive maps
Master spool number: HOU4292
Production number: FOUT155W
Videofinder number: 2722
Available to public: no