Creative exploration as a scale-invariant search on a meaning landscape

Yuval Hart, Hagar Goldberg, Ella Striem-Amit, Avraham E. Mayo, Lior Noy, Uri Alon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Can knowledge accumulated in systems biology on mechanisms governing cell behavior help us to elucidate cognitive processes, such as human creative search? To address this, we focus on the property of scale invariance, which allows sensory systems to adapt to environmental signals spanning orders of magnitude. For example, bacteria search for nutrients, by responding to relative changes in nutrient concentration rather than absolute levels, via a sensory mechanism termed fold-change detection (FCD). Scale invariance is prevalent in cognition, yet the specific mechanisms are mostly unknown. Here, we screen many possible dynamic equation topologies, to find that an FCD model best describes creative search dynamics. The model further predicts robustness to variations in meaning perception, in agreement with behavioral data. We thus suggest FCD as a specific mechanism for scale invariant search, connecting sensory processes of cells and cognitive processes in human.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5411
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


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