Egbert, M. D.,Perez-Mercader, J.

Genetic mutations, infection by parasites or symbionts, and other events can transform the way that an organism's internal state changes in response to a given environment. We use a minimalistic computational model to support an argument that by behaving "interoceptively," i.e. responding to internal state rather than to the environment, organisms can be robust to these organisational-transformations. We suggest that the robustness of interoceptive behaviour is due, in part, to the asymmetrical relationship between an organism and its environment, where the latter more substantially influences the former than vice versa. This relationship means that interoceptive behaviour can respond to the environment, the internal state and the interaction between the two, while exteroceptive behaviour can only respond to the environment. We discuss the possibilities that (i) interoceptive behaviour may play an important role of facilitating adaptive evolution (especially in the early evolution of primitive life) and (ii) interoceptive mechanisms could prove useful in efforts to create more robust synthetic life-forms.