Here on "Earth" organisms tend to evolve only enough mental processing power to handle sensory inputs in modest amounts. Taking "human" brains for a quick example, even though we have millions of sensory receptors all over our body that can feed touch, smell, visual and audio information to our brain, most of the time our brain "tunes out" this information. Clearly, if one was too absorbed in all the rustling of the leaves and scents in the air, he or she would be more likely to remove him/herself from the gene pool by failing to prioritize the important thump thump thump of a charging tiger.
So flipping the script, let's concede right now that this idea seems counter-intuitive on Earth, because it's cost-prohibitive in terms of energy. If a brain is processing things that are not necessary to survive, the plausibility of the species is questionable. But perhaps this is only the case on Earth -- which brings me to my question.
What kind of environment/evolutionary narrative would need to be assumed to allow for high-throughput sensory brains to become a favored trait? That is to say, we are maximizing the amount of sensory inputs that make it to the conscious level.
- High-throughput sensory brains: All information is preserved and the brain does not "zone out" any "noise." It feels everything from every sensory receptor and passes it to the conscious mind frequently.
- Number of sensory receptors: assumed to be very high. (hence the post title: high-throughput)
- Preference: world with a viable food chain in which high-throughput sensory brains have reached high ranks.
- World: Optional. If you have an Earth-like evolutionary narrative for high-throughput sensory brains, feel free. Otherwise, explain the assumptions of your world.
- Everything else: only limit is the laws of physics. I will allow for hypothetical biology.
Side: I will include a quote that a rather like as an optional supplement to the post. Originally, I accredited it to Darwin, but I was mistaken. While not widely accepted, it's still an interesting quote.
It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It's the species that responds fastest to change.