The cognitive cell: Bacterial behavior reconsidered

Pamela Lyon

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    102 Citations (Scopus)


    Research on how bacteria adapt to changing environments underlies the contemporary biological understanding of signal transduction, and signal transduction provides the foundation of the information-processing approach that is the hallmark of the 'cognitive revolution,' which began in the mid-20th century. Yet cognitive scientists largely remain oblivious to research into microbial behavior that might provide insights into problems in their own domains, while microbiologists seem equally unaware of the potential importance of their work to understanding cognitive capacities in multicellular organisms, including vertebrates. Evidence in bacteria for capacities encompassed by the concept of cognition is reviewed. Parallels exist not only at the heuristic level of functional analogue, but also at the level of molecular mechanism, evolution and ecology, which is where fruitful cross-fertilization among disciplines might be found.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number264
    Pages (from-to)Art:264
    Number of pages18
    JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Cognition
    • Communication
    • Evolution
    • Information processing
    • Learning
    • Memory
    • Signal transduction
    • Valence


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