Observations and Results

The main overall result is that a large number of context-dependent evolutionary processes can be realistically modelled by this approach. Specific patterns of co-evolving cognitive and motor behaviour, characterised by specific patterns of energy consumption − respectively "emotions" in the defined sense, see project description − emerge in all four functional modes. Population dynamics are entirely determined by the energy balance resulting from complex interactions between genetically steered behaviours and the environment. Under unfavourable conditions − e.g. insufficient food, too many predators, too small initial genetic variability, too low initial energy per agent − populations die out rapidly. Under favorable frame conditions, on the contrary, the evolutionary process can continue over thousands of generations, typically showing the following three phases: During the first 2-3 generations, together with the extinction of a large letal part of the population, a drastic reduction of the high initial random genetic variability takes place through evolutionary selection, survived in many cases by only a very small fraction out of the initial population that happens to have a behaviour which allows to at least survive the situation. The next phase is characterized by a continous evolutionary adaptation to the frame conditions, majorily caused by competitive selection pressure; typically more than a half of the agents in a generation dies before it comes to reproduction. This can last several hundred generations and typically leads to progressive energy optimisation of the behavioural programs. Finally, the genomic values tend to stabilize on attractor-like levels of optimal energy dissipation, respectively optimal emotional functioning, as long as frame conditions are kept constant.

A bandwidth of different energetic behaviours (emotions) can be induced depending on the frame conditions and the environment of the evolutionary process which can be defined through the simulation parameters: when food becomes rare or the number of agents increases, more intense attraction toward food (hunger), accompanied by aggressive competition between individual agents appears characterized by quickly moving toward food, by mutual avoidance (dislike) between agents, and by an increased range of perception (extended attention). Abstufung und Hin-und weg von. Eingrenzung des cognitive horizon. When the number of predators is high, more intense high energetic quick escape from predators (fear) emerges. When food is abundant, or when predators are rare, or when the number of competing agents is low, no, slow or contradictory movements away or toward predators or fellow-agents are observed (indifference or ambivalence). When food units become so thick that they cannot be eaten by individual agents alone, mutual avoidance between agents changes into mutual attraction and collaboration. Both motor and cognitive functions (speed and direction of movement, range of perception as well as focus of attention) are, thus, continually influenced by the predominant emotional state − an observation which closely corresponds to the concept of operator-effects of emotions on cognition in affect-logic. These patterns do emerge through an evolutionary process under an energetic selection regime since they enable motile organisms to consum energy under changing circumstances very effectively. Of particular interest is also the observation that the introduction of a new cognitive capacity (e.g. the capacity of evaluating the strength of a predator, or the relative strength of different agents) invariably leads to the emergence of new types of "emotions". This mechanism, too, corresponds to a basic postulate of affect-logic. All these observations may, therefore, have a number of general implications for the understanding and conceptualisation of emotions, among them the possibility of an energy-based quantification and of quantitative comparisons between different emotions. Furthermore, we could observe that emotion-like behaviours are indeed quite similar on the individual and group level, thus confirming the concept of the fractality (self-similarity) of affective-cognitive interactions on different levels, postulated by affect-logic. Certain non-linear bifurcations of the overall type of affective-cognitive functioning, such as a sudden jump from a "logic of love" to "logic of hate", or from a "logic of peace" to a "logic of war", that are usually related to an emotion-energetic overload, too, may become better understandable on the base of an energetic understanding of emotions.

All these results and their possible consequences are fully outlined in:
Ciompi, L., Baatz, M. The Energetic Dimension of Emotions: An Evolution-Based Computer Simulation with General Implications. Biological Theory 3(1): 42-50, 2008.
See also:
Ciompi, L., Baatz, M. Do mental and social processes have a fractal structure? The hypothesis of affect- logic. In Losa, G., Merlini D., Nonnenmacher T.F., Weibel E (ed) Fractals in biology and medicine, Vol IV Birkhäuser Press, Basel, p. 107-119, 2005