Brain and Behavior

Basic Concepts in Neuroscience

What are the costs and benefits of complexity?

As brain structures have evolved toward greater complexity, we can ask what benefits complexity may offer. Are there any costs? In general, complexity allows for more flexibility. Complex systems have a broader repertoire of responses with which to adapt to complicated or changing circumstances. However, complexity is expensive. Complex systems take more energy and are more fragile than simpler systems. With more parts involved, it is easier for something to go wrong.


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