Publications 2015

​Approximations of algorithmic and structural complexity validate cognitive-behavioural experimental results
H. Zenil, J.A.R. Marshall, J. Tegnér
arXiv:1509.06338, 2015
H. Zenil, J.A.R. Marshall, J. Tegnér
Behavioural biases; Ant behaviour; Mouse behaviour; Drosophila behaviour; Communication complexity; Tradeoffs of complexity measures; Shannon Entropy; Kolmogorov-Chaitin complexity; Logical Depth
​We apply methods for estimating the algorithmic complexity of sequences to behavioural sequences of three landmark studies of animal behavior each of increasing sophistication, including foraging communication by ants, flight patterns of fruit flies, and tactical deception and competition strategies in rodents. In each case, we demonstrate that approximations of Logical Depth and Kolmogorv-Chaitin complexity capture and validate previously reported results, in contrast to other measures such as Shannon Entropy, compression or ad hoc. Our method is practically useful when dealing with short sequences, such as those often encountered in cognitive-behavioural research. Our analysis supports and reveals non-random behavior (LD and K complexity) in flies even in the absence of external stimuli, and confirms the "stochastic" behaviour of transgenic rats when faced that they cannot defeat by counter prediction. The method constitutes a formal approach for testing hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying animal behaviour.

Approximations of algorithmic and structural complexity.pdfApproximations of algorithmic and structural complexity.pdf