The evolution of decision-making mechanisms under competing demands

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Animals in nature are constantly managing multiple demands, and decisions about how to adjust behavior in response to ecologically relevant demands is critical for fitness. Evidence for behavioral correlations across functional contexts (behavioral syndromes) and growing appreciation for shared proximate substrates of behavior prompts novel questions about the existence of distinct neural, molecular, and genetic mechanisms involved in decision-making. Those proximate mechanisms are likely to be an important target of selection, but little is known about how they evolve, their evolutionary history, or where they harbor genetic variation. Herein I provide a conceptual framework for understanding the evolution of mechanisms for decision-making, highlighting insights on decision-making in humans and model organisms, and sketch an emerging synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • RNA sequencing
  • animal behavior
  • behavioral syndromes
  • neurogenomics
  • social decision-making network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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