From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller[1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger[2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores."

An early use of the term was in a newspaper article by Jonathan Chevreau[3] where he quotes a speech made by Zenon Pylyshyn. Soon after, the term appeared in the introduction of Pylyshyn's seminal book on Cognitive Science, Computation and Cognition.[4]

More recently the term has been popularized by philosopher Daniel Dennett in his book Kinds of Minds[5] and by cognitive scientist Steven Pinker.[6]


  1. ^ Miller, George A. (1983), "Informavores", in Machlup, Fritz; Mansfield, Una (eds.), The Study of Information: Interdisciplinary Messages, Wiley-Interscience, pp. 111–113, ISBN 0-471-88717-X
  2. ^ Schrödinger, Erwin (1944), What is Life?, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-42708-8
  3. ^ Chevreau, Jonathan (1984-03-30), "Some A1 applications wishful thinking", The Globe and Mail
  4. ^ Pylyshyn, Zenon (1984), Computation and Cognition: Toward a Foundation for Cognitive Science, MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-16098-6
  5. ^ Dennett, Daniel (1997), Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness, Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-07351-4
  6. ^ World Wide Words: Informavore, retrieved 2008-01-12

External links[edit]