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Article

Functional Interdependence in Coupled Dissipative Structures: Physical Foundations of Biological Coordination

1
Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
2
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, NC 06269, USA
3
Department of Chemistry, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Krzysztof Malarz
Entropy 2021, 23(5), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/e23050614
Received: 7 April 2021 / Revised: 4 May 2021 / Accepted: 12 May 2021 / Published: 15 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy and Social Physics)
Coordination within and between organisms is one of the most complex abilities of living systems, requiring the concerted regulation of many physiological constituents, and this complexity can be particularly difficult to explain by appealing to physics. A valuable framework for understanding biological coordination is the coordinative structure, a self-organized assembly of physiological elements that collectively performs a specific function. Coordinative structures are characterized by three properties: (1) multiple coupled components, (2) soft-assembly, and (3) functional organization. Coordinative structures have been hypothesized to be specific instantiations of dissipative structures, non-equilibrium, self-organized, physical systems exhibiting complex pattern formation in structure and behaviors. We pursued this hypothesis by testing for these three properties of coordinative structures in an electrically-driven dissipative structure. Our system demonstrates dynamic reorganization in response to functional perturbation, a behavior of coordinative structures called reciprocal compensation. Reciprocal compensation is corroborated by a dynamical systems model of the underlying physics. This coordinated activity of the system appears to derive from the system’s intrinsic end-directed behavior to maximize the rate of entropy production. The paper includes three primary components: (1) empirical data on emergent coordinated phenomena in a physical system, (2) computational simulations of this physical system, and (3) theoretical evaluation of the empirical and simulated results in the context of physics and the life sciences. This study reveals similarities between an electrically-driven dissipative structure that exhibits end-directed behavior and the goal-oriented behaviors of more complex living systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-organization; dissipative structures; collective behavior; coordination; coordination dynamics; thermodynamics; maximum entropy production self-organization; dissipative structures; collective behavior; coordination; coordination dynamics; thermodynamics; maximum entropy production
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MDPI and ACS Style

De Bari, B.; Paxton, A.; Kondepudi, D.K.; Kay, B.A.; Dixon, J.A. Functional Interdependence in Coupled Dissipative Structures: Physical Foundations of Biological Coordination. Entropy 2021, 23, 614. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23050614

AMA Style

De Bari B, Paxton A, Kondepudi DK, Kay BA, Dixon JA. Functional Interdependence in Coupled Dissipative Structures: Physical Foundations of Biological Coordination. Entropy. 2021; 23(5):614. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23050614

Chicago/Turabian Style

De Bari, Benjamin, Alexandra Paxton, Dilip K. Kondepudi, Bruce A. Kay, and James A. Dixon. 2021. "Functional Interdependence in Coupled Dissipative Structures: Physical Foundations of Biological Coordination" Entropy 23, no. 5: 614. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23050614

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