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Being a generalist requires more sleep than specialists comments original article

In college, I was constantly reading neuro lit extolling the virtues of neural plasticity, which is the ability of neurons to change based on feedback from the environment. Plasticity certainly has huge benefits. Specifically, plasticity allows for a better match between phenotype and environment across variable environments than a single, constant phenotype would.

But after a while, the idolatry of plasticity began to annoy me, in part because much of the lit discussed plasticity as if it had no downsides, which seems impossible. (If there really were no costs to plasticity, then evolution should have selected for it like woah).

The general downside seems to be that plasticity hinders specialization. That is, if a system has the ability to change easily (i.e. it has high plasticity), then it will tend…
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