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About this book

This volume presents the work of leading scientists from Russia, Georgia, Estonia, Lithuania, Israel and the USA, revealing major insights long unknown to the scientific community. Without any doubt their work will provide a springboard for further research in anticipation. Until recently, Robert Rosen (Anticipatory Systems) and Mihai Nadin (MIND – Anticipation and Chaos) were deemed forerunners in this still new knowledge domain.

The distinguished neurobiologist, Steven Rose, pointed to the fact that Soviet neuropsychological theories have not on the whole been well received by Western science. These earlier insights as presented in this volume make an important contribution to the foundation of the science of anticipation. It is shown that the daring hypotheses and rich experimental evidence produced by Bernstein, Beritashvili, Ukhtomsky, Anokhin and Uznadze, among others—extend foundational work to aspects of neuroscience, physiology, motorics, education.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Commitment to Knowledge

Darwin (The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. John Murray, London, p. 3, 1871, [


]), in a book in which anticipation is incidentally present, took note of the fact that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” If the degree of success of a field of inquiry had anything to do with how often its label is used (the mantra of search engines), we could say that anticipation has made it. The word is in everyone’s mouth—unfortunately for the wrong reasons most of the time. (Quantum mechanics and genetics seem to be cursed with similar success.) Neither is history in itself, as a timeline of events—i.e., the narration—a source of scientific legitimacy. Nevertheless, when the timeline reveals successive expressions of knowledge and is substantiated by experimental evidence, legitimacy ensues on account of a successful record. Those who ignore such a record of tested and confirmed knowledge give in to the embrace of ignorance to the same extent as those who use a concept without understanding it. Their own endeavors end up undermined by a confidence that is at best illusory.

Mihai Nadin

Alexei A. Ukhtomsky and Dominance Studies


The Concept of Dominance by A.A. Ukhtomsky and Anticipation

This paper investigates the dominance theory articulated by A.A. Ukhtomsky (1875–1942). This theory is one of the earliest attempts to scientifically study the relationships of life and mind, and human behavior in particular. Ukhtomsky anteceded some ideas of cybernetics and synergetics, as shown in our previous works. On the other hand, one of the main problems analyzed by Ukhtomsky is the capacity of anticipation evident in the behavior of living beings. This work is devoted to the problem of anticipation from the viewpoint of the dominance concept.

Elena Y. Zueva, Konstantin B. Zuev

Perspectives on Time and Anticipation in the Theory of Dominance

This paper introduces the problem of anticipation in the theory of dominance by A.A. Ukhtomsky and his school of neurophysiology in the light of recent research. The works of this school can be seen to represent a still distinct systemic approach to functional state dynamics in the brain, both in its general biological principles and physiological mechanisms. It is proposed that this approach may help to ground novel frameworks and hypotheses for closer integration of several modern research directions, as discussed with reference to problems of anticipation, neuronal homeostasis, and the interaction of graded and field transmission effects with structured network activity in the brain.

Andres Kurismaa

Dominance Principle and Creativity in Human Brain Functions

This paper introduces the methodology of systemic research in human psychophysiology. Based on ample experimental material we demonstrate the system-forming role of A.A. Ukhtomsky’s dominance principle in various psychophysiological functions and states. Electroencephalographic methods developed on the basis of systemic principles have enabled us to single out types of cortical activation patterns (CAPs) as the generative units of micro- and macrostructures of cognitive activity. The relationships of individual-habitual types of CAPs and those required by ongoing cognitive activities are analyzed. The interrelations of these CAP types are shown to define the mental productivity and cognitive style of individual subjects. We show the possibilities of CAP type reconfigurations in response to behavioral requirements and in developing heuristic, complex problem-solving skills. Attempts are made to predict the productivity of mental activity based on the changing functional states of the human brain.

Lucia P. Pavlova

Contributions of Academicians A.A. Ukhtomsky and N.P. Bechtereva to Multidisciplinary Human Brain Science

This paper analyzes the complex dynamics of cortico-subcortical organization of action anticipation and its variability in different conditions based on A.A. Ukhtomsky’s theory of dominance and N.P. Bechtereva’s neurophysiological research on functional brain states and the neural mechanisms of higher forms of psychic activity. The neurodynamical formations created in the brain in the course of cognitive activity and the interactions of these formations are seen as determining human adaptive reactions and the systemic organization of adaptive behavior and cognitive functions—including anticipation. Arguments and grounds are given for conceptualizing the brain as a complexly-organized, “floating” multiloop neurodynamic substrate with a hierarchical organization of activity on various temporal and intensity scales in realizing different types of cognitive functions and brain states.

Valentina A. Ilyukhina

Agential Anticipation in the Central Nervous System

The aim of this study is to give a new constructivist interpretation to the well-known “dominance principle” of the outstanding Russian physiologist A.A. Ukhtomsky, which in a narrow sense is a conceptual model of the mechanisms of motivated behavioral responses in man and higher animals. Ukhtomsky’s “dominant” is treated as a developing situational material agency, extending to the whole organism. The hypothesis is proposed here of dominants as bootstrapping cyclic processes of inward self-design and outward environmental design (Butz in Constructivist Found. 4:1–14, 2008 [




]). This design is based on emergent anticipation. The process of dominant bootstrapping thus re-establishes equilibrium in the body’s organization and, via sensory-motor coupling, in the body-environment system in accordance with the phenomenology of constructivism.

Alexander B. Kazansky

On the Legacy and Life of Academician Alexei A. Ukhtomsky

On the basis of the dominance principle, Ukhtomsky created a unified theory of the bio-social nature of man and a systemic approach to the leading determinants of human behavior and psyche. His scientific pursuits sought to explain the fundamental principles of brain functions that underlie complex forms of psychic representation and the spiritual life of individuals. Today, the scientific and humanitarian legacy of academician A.A. Ukhtomsky attracts the attention of specialists from various areas, as it represents one of the first and most encompassing attempts to create a complex science of man. In this paper, some of the main themes of Ukhtomsky’s unique legacy and life are outlined.

Ljudmila V. Sokolova

Ukhtomsky’s Idea of Chronotope as Frame of Anticipation

A.A. Ukhtomsky formulated the idea of


at the beginning of the 20th century. I learned about it from N.V. Golikov and I.A. Arshavsky, who were his direct students. The written materials of Ukhtomsky do not contain enough information about the chronotope concept. His references to the works of H. Minkowski and A. Einstein, as well as those of C. Sherrington are interesting for understanding the origin of this concept. That fact that M.M. Bakhtin received the concept of chronotope directly from Ukhtomsky is also important. Thus, chronotope fell within the scope of humanitarian knowledge. Additionally, there are similarities between Ukhtomsky’s idea of chronotope and von Uexküll’s concept of


. The chronotope concept is important for understanding the mechanisms of anticipation in so far as the subject of anticipation can exist only if its existence is possible in chronotope. Thus, chronotope can be seen as a frame of anticipation.

Sergey V. Chebanov

Peter K. Anokhin and the Theory of Functional Systems


Theory of Functional Systems: A Keystone of Integrative Biology

The general theory of functional systems, created by P.K. Anokhin and developed in his scientific school, has opened up fundamentally new approaches for studying the systemic organization of brain functions. This paper postulates some of the main principles of this theory. In contrast to classical physiology, which studies the functions of organs and the dynamics of their work, the physiology of functional systems is concerned with the organism as a complex of multiple systemic organizations connected by their dynamic relationships. The data stated here testify to the fact that the theory of functional systems shows new ways for the development of integrative biology.

Konstantin V. Sudakov

Endogenous Generation of Goals and Homeostasis

Behavior can be both unpredictable and goal-directed, as animals act in correspondence with their own motivation. Motivation arises when neurons in specific brain areas leave the state of homeostatic equilibrium and are injured. The basic goal of organisms and living cells is to maintain their integrity and life, and their functional state is optimal if it does not lead to physiological damage. This can somehow be sensed by neurons, and the occurrence of damage elicits homeostatic protection to recover excitability and the ability to produce spikes. It can be argued that the neuron’s activity is guided on the scale of “damage-protection,” and it behaves as an object possessing minimum awareness. We have no possibility of determining how the cell evaluates its own states, e.g., as “too little free energy” or in terms of “threat” to life. In any case, the approach of death increases cellular efforts to operate. For the outside observer, this is reminiscent of intentional action and a manifestation of will. Thus, homeostasis may evidently produce both maintenance of life and will.

Lev E. Tsitolovsky

Cognition as Systemogenesis

The present report has the following two objectives: to provide a survey of systemic conceptions in psychophysiology that are rooted in the theory of functional systems, and to compare the development of these conceptions with tendencies characterizing progress in world science. On the basis of ample experimental material in the framework of systems psychophysiology, views are formulated on the formative and dynamic regularities of individual experience. Within this framework, applying a systemic approach to the study of cognition entails multidisciplinary investigation of the systemogenesis and actualization of neurocognitive systems. Science, being a part of culture, along with invariant characteristics reflecting its global character, possesses also certain local, national features. Peculiarities of Russian science are discussed, as well as the complementarity of local culture-specific components of world science.

Yuri I. Alexandrov

Anokhin’s “Principle of Instant Mobilization” and Possible Mechanisms of Its Neural Implementation

On the basis of neuro-computational modeling and Anokhin’s theory of functional systems, this work demonstrates the mechanisms of “instant mobilization” of an actively goal-seeking neuronal network and the emergence of a dominant through the network’s sub-threshold dynamics and lateral inhibition processes.

Vladimir D. Tsygankov

Purposefulness as a Principle of Brain Activity

This paper considers two cognate notions: task and goal. Samokhvalov and Ershov, in their “Contemporary Philosophy of Mathematics,” argued that existing problems in the foundations of mathematics follow from insufficient precision of the task notion. A mathematical task is set only if we have a criterion of verifying its proof. Similar considerations arise for the notions of purpose/goal. We cannot attain the goal without having a criterion of its attainment; otherwise we can assume that the goal is already attained. The theory of functional systems (TFS) developed by Anokhin and many other distinguished scientists of his school is one of the few known physiological theories in which the notions of goal/purpose, result, anticipation and goal-directed behavior are the principal ones. Hence, TFS is a theory in which purposefulness is regarded as a principle of physiological activity. We present TFS as a theory of anticipatory functional systems characterized by purposeful activity.

Evgenii E. Vityaev

Nikolai A. Bernstein and the Physiology of Activity


Repetition Without Repetition: How Bernstein Illumines Motor Skill in Music Performance

This chapter presents a basic overview of Bernsteinian motor control theory, with particular reference to the performance of classical music. Key points include contrasts with Pavlovian approaches, the interdependence of action and perception, the centrality of goals and intentions, the role of repetition, and the nature of dexterity. Specific applications to motor training for musicians are sketched.

John Paul Ito

Futurism in Physiology: Nikolai Bernstein, Anticipation, and Kinaesthetic Imagination

The article brings together the history of anticipation with cutting-edge research on kinaesthetic imagination. It locates Bernstein’s work in the context of both early-20th century holism in biology and the wider cultural movement of Futurism. The authors examine Bernstein’s attempts to introduce intentionality into physiology and his passionate search for determinants of movements in the future, rather than in the past. These attempts were stimulated by Bernstein’s work on specifically human movements, purposeful and wilful, very much unlike the conditional reflexes of Pavlovian dogs. The article also describes the notion of anticipation as conceived by Bernstein, as well as later studies of anticipation by contemporary physiologists and phenomenologists. It then introduces the notion of kinaesthetic imagination based on research by scholars of dance and sport. The article concludes with a section on the use of kinaesthetic imagination for rehabilitation of post-stroke patients, quoting from research in progress.

Irina E. Sirotkina, Elena V. Biryukova

Bernstein’s “Desired Future” and Physics of Human Movement

Bernstein’s concept of “desired future” has been recently developed within two approaches to the neural control of movement. Within the computational approach, this concept led to the ideas of predictive (direct) internal models. Within the physical approach, based on the referent configuration hypothesis and uncontrolled manifold hypothesis, this concept is reflected in two types of anticipatory motor phenomena, leading to net changes in task-specific performance variables and leading to changes in their stability. Typical examples are anticipatory postural adjustments and anticipatory synergy adjustments, respectively. Both may be seen as reflections of neural processes aimed at achieving a future state effectively given the external conditions and planned actions.

Mark L. Latash

Memory, Probabilistic Prognosis, and Presetting for Action

The organism’s reactions to changes in the environment require mobilizing numerous physiological systems, and therefore a certain amount of time. The more difficult the reaction, the more time its realization requires. However, too slow reactions may become meaningless. In the course of evolution, a mechanism has evolved to ameliorate this situation. Information on the probabilistic structure of previous individual experience is stored in memory. On the basis of this information, a probabilistic prognosis is constructed regarding the most likely future events. If in earlier experience an event A followed event B with high probability, then in response to the actual occurrence of A, the organism is able to execute a presetting: it is able to activate the structures necessary for reacting to the not yet present, but highly probable prognosed event B. The more highly developed the organism is, the better its capacity for probabilistic prognosis, and the more accurate, quick, and economic its reactions to changes in the surrounding environment.

Iosif M. Feigenberg

New Pages in the Biography of Nikolai Alexandrovich Bernstein

Nikolai Alexandrovich Bernstein (1896–1966) is well known today primarily for formulating the problem of redundant degrees of freedom and their elimination in motor control, as well as his hierarchical theory of movement coordination. This paper aims to uncover new pages in the biography of N.A. Bernstein, based on materials from the archive of his nephew Alexander Sergeevich Bernstein, as well as recent interviews with the former pupils of N.A. Bernstein. Concentrated around several interdisciplinary seminars, they grew into a young generation of physiologists in the late sixties and made remarkable contributions inspired by Bernstein’s new principles of neuroscience. These include the discovery of the spinal automatism of stepping in the cat, the “equilibrium point” hypothesis, the hindlimb wiping reflex of the frog as an example of a targeted trajectory organized at the spinal level, and the probabilistic prognosis in human activity.

Vera L. Talis

Variability by Another Name: “Repetition Without Repetition”

The fundamental distinction between reaction and anticipation corresponds to their respective condition. Reaction is by its nature the expression of a particular form of causality defined within Newtonian physics. Anticipation corresponds to a specific form of causality associated with the past and with possible futures. Bernstein acknowledged that motoric activity is driven by the future, i.e., by the goal pursued. The formula “repetition without repetition” captures the role that variability, as an expression of anticipation, plays in the motoric process. This study focuses on an attempt to capture the holistic expression of anticipation in quantitative descriptions, and draws a parallel between Bernstein’s experimental work and that carried out in the AnticipationScope.

Mihai Nadin

Dimitri N. Uznadze and the Theory of Set


Dimitri Uznadze’s Theory of Set: Problems of Anticipation and Unconscious Forms of Memory

Despite the success of modern psychology in implicit memory (priming) research achieved over the past three decades, issues related to unconscious forms of past experiences need to be further specified and developed. This paper discusses some essential methodological principles of the general-psychological theory of set formulated by Dimitri Uznadze. On the basis of the theory of set, the paper analyzes experimental data on unconscious retrieval of information embedded in past experiences and the mechanism of its expression in behavior. Subjects do not consciously remember this information, but respective knowledge is not discarded; it is stored in a set and is revealed in behavior in response to actual situations.

Dali Sh. Parjanadze

The Role of Implicit Estimation of Time Intervals and Set Plasticity in Facial Expression Processing

On the basis of our own and available experimental materials, the proposal is discussed that the neural mechanism of implicit estimation of time intervals between significant visual events should be analyzed in the framework of top-down cognitive control theory. In this framework, the mechanism producing active inhibition during the formation, switching, or updating of the cognitive set for recognizing a negative facial expression is analyzed. The significance of the function of temporal interval estimation is shown in providing the flexibility of cognitive processes.

Eduard A. Kostandov

Evolutionary, Behavioral, Theoretical Approaches


The Mind of a Visionary: The Morphology of Cognitive Anticipation as a Cardinal Symptom

The Soviet neuroscientist and clinician Alexander Romanovich Luria was a visionary. This paper presents a summary of some of Luria’s fundamental notions and to update them according to our clinical intentions. The concepts of “function”, “functional systems”, “functional units”, “anticipation” and “symptom” are revisited. In particular, the concept of “executive function” is refined from a new theoretical perspective, based on the original sources used by Luria to build his notion of “functional systems”. This definition of executive functions is associated with the notion of “symptom”, also proposed by Luria. The morphology of cognitive “anticipation”, enacted through inferential processes, could be used to assess executive functions.

Fabián Labra-Spröhnle

Sokolov’s Neural Model of Stimuli as Neuro-Cybernetic Approach to Anticipatory Perception

We discuss the original ideas of E.N. Sokolov on the “neural model of stimuli” as an early interpretation of model-based anticipation in the context of neurophysiological and neurocybernetic research on the orienting reflex. The influence of Sokolov’s innovative ideas on the development of scientific investigations on anticipatory systems, closed-loop coding-decoding control, and visual perception as analysis by synthesis is presented as it was developed by Sokolov’s students working in Lithuania.

Dobilas Kirvelis, Vygandas Vanagas

I.S. Beritashvili and Psychoneural Integration of Behavior

Ivane S. Beritashvili’s doctrine of psychoneural or goal-directed behavior was established in the late 1920s. It bears a strong resemblance to the concepts of purposive behavior and “cognitive maps” developed in parallel by Edward Tolman (1932), and significantly preceded respective modern concepts. Beritashvili’s research was motivated by a disagreement with Ivan P. Pavlov concerning the physiological bases of conditioned reflex formation. In the late 1920s, Beritashvili concluded that, due to the restrictions it placed on animals’ behavior, the Pavlov-Bechterev type of conditioning was not a proper model for the study of behavior. Instead, Beritashvili came to prefer the method of “free movement” of the experimental animal. He pursued ingenious and extensive comparative investigations of memory in vertebrates. This revealed the unique nature of mammalian memory processes, which he forthrightly called “image-driven” and distinguished from memory processes underlying conditional reflexes. These extraordinary works led to the discovery of the mediation of animal goal-directed behavior by image-driven memory.

Merab G. Tsagareli

Extrapolation Ability in Animals and Its Possible Links to Exploration, Anxiety, and Novelty Seeking

The notion of “extrapolation ability” was developed by L.V. Krushinsky. His concept of animal reasoning, signifies the ability of animals to anticipate the position of (food) stimuli after their translocation and disappearance from the animals’ view. Experiments proved this ability is not a simple trait, but requires a constellation of various optimal cognitive functions. Only several genetic groups among laboratory rodents are able to anticipate food reward on the basis of extrapolation, as opposed to instrumental learning. The paper includes data on extrapolation ability in mice with various chromosomal rearrangements, showing non-random performance on extrapolation tasks in animals carrying specific mutations. Experiments in which mice were selected for extrapolation ability demonstrate concomitant changes in other cognitive tasks and traits (fear-anxiety, reactions to novelty). Future studies should involve both the combination of several experimental paradigms and correlational analysis to further delineate the genetic underpinnings of anticipation as expressed in the extrapolation ability.

Inga Poletaeva, Zoya Zorina

Towards Understanding Biotic, Psychic and Semiotically-Mediated Mechanisms of Anticipation

Anticipation is an inevitable characteristic of life. Instead of asking whether this or that organism reveals some form of anticipation as it is often done in biology and psychology today, it is more fruitful to ask in which ways different organisms anticipate future. In this chapter Anokhin’s Functional Systems Theory is taken as a starting point to proceed with the analysis of how psychic and cultural mechanisms of anticipation have evolved over the history of mind. Grounded also on Vygotsky’s and Lotman’s theories, it is concluded that there are nine different developmentally ordered mechanisms of thought and correspondingly nine different forms of anticipation. Knowing the basic mechanisms of thinking, it becomes possible to evaluate research in anticipation from a new perspective. Limitations of less developed forms of anticipation can be recognized and replaced with more efficient hierarchically higher-order forms of anticipatory thinking.

Aaro Toomela

Alexander Luria: Creator in the Perspective of Time

The purpose of this article is to analyze Luria’s heritage from the point of view of current interest in anticipation and anticipatory systems. Luria’s main concepts—“functional system,” “high psychic functions,” and cultural-historical conception are described. The language Luria used for presenting his concepts is discussed. The assumption is made that, although never using the word “anticipation,” Luria really considered the idea of future modeling.

Elena I. Nikolaeva

Medical and Applied Perspectives


Individuality of Brain Dominants as a Problem of Special Education and Pedagogy

In this paper a psychophysiological approach to learning is developed based on Ukhtomsky’s dominance principle. Within this framework, many current problems of pedagogy, such as the formation of personality and creative capacities, individual approaches to teaching, recommendable mental workloads, as well as the prophylactics of deviant behavior and rehabilitation of children with developmental difficulties and disabilities find their substantiation. We present the results of brain dominants research in children with different types of behavior and in left-handed individuals. The author’s method of psychophysiological diagnostics helps to reveal the mechanisms of normal and deviant intellectual development and behavior, and allows us to reassess opportunities of psychophysiological correction and rehabilitation.

Lucia P. Pavlova

Anticipation in Uznadze’s Theory of Set and Some Findings in Applied Psychology

This paper presents an overview of Dimitri Uznadze’s theory of set and its applied aspects. This theory recognizes the need to study processes which lie beyond the boundaries of consciousness from a nomothetic perspective. According to Uznadze, the subject of action is presented by an integral unconscious structure—Set, which encompasses (1) an existing need (subjective factor of the Set), and (2) the situation for its satisfaction (objective factor of the Set). The Set uses mental functions as instruments and prepares consequent behavior. A classical instrument for studying the Set is the

fixed Set

method, which is revealed in the experimental situation as a lack of adaptation in the subject—perceptual illusions. Jean Piaget highlighted the anticipatory nature of such illusions and named them “Uznadze’s effect”. Results of experiments confirm Uznadze’s basic proposition that the illusion in question is based on unconscious anticipation as an integral state of the personality. A number of experimental studies conducted by Georgian psychologists found that both, the revealing of the fixed Set, as well as its suppression during the change of environment correspond to disorders or disabilities in individuals. Currently the Set-based approach is used in the psychology of thinking and teaching methodology.

Ketevan D. Makashvili

Anticipation and the Concept of System-Forming Factor in the Theory of Functional Systems

The problem of anticipation is approached in Anokhin’s theory of functional systems on the basis of a consecutively generated step-wise predictive model (afferent synthesis, decision-making, acceptor of result), which determines the formation of any functional system. In this process, the adaptive result is considered to be a universal system-forming factor. On the other hand, the concept of the system-forming adaptive result poorly agrees with the key role of anticipation in the genesis of functional activity, and necessitates the distinction of several system-forming factors. Anticipation (as the goal of action) is such a factor for complex forms of conscious behavior in animals and man. In other cases, anticipation forms no functional systems, although it participates in their realization and function. For example, genetically determined systems (including congenital forms of behavior) are formed through mutations; conditioned reflexes—due to a primarily accidental achievement of adaptive result, etc. Clarification of the role of anticipation in the genesis of functional systems eliminates internal inconsistency in Anokhin’s theory and facilitates its use in biomedical sciences.

Alexander Saltykov, Sergey Grachev
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