Adaptation (from the Latin adaptio) is a process in which the adaptation of the system (i.e., maintenance of its basic parameters) is established or maintained when the conditions of the external and internal environment change, for example, such as temperature, pressure, oxygen content. Often the adaptation (adaptation) is also called the result of such a process – the availability of the system’s fitness for a certain factor of the environment. The concept of adaptation was originally applied to biological systems – first of all to an individual organism (or its organs and other subsystems), and then to a population of organisms.
Adaptation at the level of biological structures, functions and behavioral solutions is one of the most vivid manifestations of organic expediency. Because of this, the question of the nature of the sources and mechanisms of adaptation – adaptationism – is one of the central issues in the controversy between different concepts of biological evolution. The concepts of adaptation and desatation are widely used in psychology (for example, in the concept of J. Piaget) in the analysis of the relationship between the individual (person) and the environment.
With the advent of cybernetics, in which, as an adaptation mechanism, negative feedback is considered that ensures the expedient response of a complex hierarchical self-governing system to changing environmental conditions, the concept of adaptation has become widely used in the social and technical sciences. However, in explaining complex systems, this concept has limited possibilities since it reflects mainly the reactive characteristics of such systems, excluding from consideration, for example, search activity.