I really liked following the bass/crappie thread, thought I'd pull off to begin a topic on something similar.
I'm normally a bit more in the "fish are dumb" camp. I don't think they have much brain power, mainly operating on instincts. I don't believe, too, that a bass "runs to brush or around pier posts" to break off a line, but just to seek cover and hide when it feels pressure from a hook.
I do agree that bass will eat just about anything making them very successful predators; these aren't monarch butterflies needing a diet of milkweed along a point in their life cycles with no alternatives.
So, we often see tiny little bass, other fish species too, attacking really large, say, swim baits, and we see really giant bass caught on tiny tackle meant for blue gills.
Why? I think I know: one day whatever consciousness a bass has growing up from a tiny fry, the fish is just "there" and gets hungry. From there on, from a few inches in length to 20+ inches, it'll feed.
But, a bass has eyes set in the sides of its head looking out laterally. Its body can bend, sure, but even if it could occasionally see its own tail, I doubt it would associate its own tail with itself.
My point? A bass really has no idea how large it is. So, tiny bass often attack really large baits and we chuckle about it. And, really large bass occasionally attack tiny baits.
In general though, just like all animals, they become more and more lethargic as they age so they expend less energy to find food so a DD LMB must get some sort of feedback, maybe feel satiated, when it eats a large meal, this instead of schooling up with a bunch of frisky teenagers and chasing a ball of shad. So, maybe, the bigger bass, as they say happens, swims over below the action and targets injured bait fish falling down through the water column.
It needs to feed differently because it needs more calories with less energy output to acquire them. I think its feeding instincts are patterned with its age and bigger size by hunger. There is some positive reinforcement going on.
Enough from me: bass simply have no way of knowing their size. Nature and their environments sort of take over and pattern their feeding.
Older readers here remember referring to someone as being "wall-eyed" if their eyes are sort of out- facing, the opposite of cross-eyed. Fish are like that, hence the origin of the name. They have no necks . . . experience life looking out to the left and right.