cognitive_science   977

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The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind
<P>Computational approaches dominate contemporary cognitive science, promising a unified, scientific explanation of how the mind works. However, computational approaches raise major philosophical and scientific questions. In what sense is the mind computational? How do computational approaches explain perception, learning, and decision making? What kinds of challenges should computational approaches overcome to advance our understanding of mind, brain, and behaviour?</P> <P></P><I> <P>The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind</I> is an outstanding overview and exploration of these issues and the first philosophical collection of its kind. Comprising thirty-five chapters by an international team of contributors from different disciplines, the <EM>Handbook</EM> is organised into four parts:</P> <P></P> <UL> <P> <LI>History and future prospects of computational approaches </LI> <LI>Types of computational approach</LI> <LI>Foundations and challenges of computational approaches</LI> <LI>Applications to specific parts of psychology.</LI> <P></P></UL> <P></P> <P>Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of science, <I>The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind </I>will also be of interest to those studying computational models in related subjects such as psychology, neuroscience, and computer science.</P> <P></P> <P>?</P>
handbook  cognitive_science  computation 
5 weeks ago by rvenkat
[1905.11110] Bayesian Inference of Social Norms as Shared Constraints on Behavior
"People act upon their desires, but often, also act in adherence to implicit social norms. How do people infer these unstated social norms from others' behavior, especially in novel social contexts? We propose that laypeople have intuitive theories of social norms as behavioral constraints shared across different agents in the same social context. We formalize inference of norms using a Bayesian Theory of Mind approach, and show that this computational approach provides excellent predictions of how people infer norms in two scenarios. Our results suggest that people separate the influence of norms and individual desires on others' actions, and have implications for modelling generalizations of hidden causes of behavior."
to:NB  social_life_of_the_mind  cognitive_science  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
The Psychology of Cultural Dynamics: What Is It, What Do We Know, and What Is Yet to Be Known? | Annual Review of Psychology
"The psychology of cultural dynamics is the psychological investigation of the formation, maintenance, and transformation of culture over time. This article maps out the terrain, reviews the existing literature, and points out potential future directions of this research. It is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on micro-cultural dynamics, which refers to the social and psychological processes that contribute to the dissemination and retention of cultural information. The second part, on micro–macro dynamics, investigates how micro-level processes give rise to macro-cultural dynamics. The third part focuses on macro-cultural dynamics, referring to the distribution and long-term trends involving cultural information in a population, which in turn enable and constrain the micro-level processes. We conclude the review with a consideration of future directions, suggesting behavior change research as translational research on cultural dynamics."
to:NB  psychology  cognitive_science  cultural_evolution  cultural_transmission  re:do-institutions-evolve 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Cognition as a Window into Neuronal Population Space | Annual Review of Neuroscience
"Understanding how cognitive processes affect the responses of sensory neurons may clarify the relationship between neuronal population activity and behavior. However, tools for analyzing neuronal activity have not kept up with technological advances in recording from large neuronal populations. Here, we describe prevalent hypotheses of how cognitive processes affect sensory neurons, driven largely by a model based on the activity of single neurons or pools of neurons as the units of computation. We then use simple simulations to expand this model to a new conceptual framework that focuses on subspaces of population activity as the relevant units of computation, uses comparisons between brain areas or to behavior to guide analyses of these subspaces, and suggests that population activity is optimized to decode the large variety of stimuli and tasks that animals encounter in natural behavior. This framework provides new ways of understanding the ever-growing quantity of recorded population activity data."
to:NB  neuroscience  cognitive_science  neural_coding_and_decoding 
7 weeks ago by cshalizi
Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer | Aeon Essays
Propelled by subsequent advances in both computer technology and brain research, an ambitious multidisciplinary effort to understand human intelligence gradually developed, firmly rooted in the idea that humans are, like computers, information processors. This effort now involves thousands of researchers, consumes billions of dollars in funding, and has generated a vast literature consisting of both technical and mainstream articles and books. Ray Kurzweil’s book How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed (2013), exemplifies this perspective, speculating about the ‘algorithms’ of the brain, how the brain ‘processes data’, and even how it superficially resembles integrated circuits in its structure.

The information processing (IP) metaphor of human intelligence now dominates human thinking, both on the street and in the sciences. There is virtually no form of discourse about intelligent human behaviour that proceeds without employing this metaphor, just as no form of discourse about intelligent human behaviour could proceed in certain eras and cultures without reference to a spirit or deity. The validity of the IP metaphor in today’s world is generally assumed without question.

Just over a year ago, on a visit to one of the world’s most prestigious research institutes, I challenged researchers there to account for intelligent human behaviour without reference to any aspect of the IP metaphor. They couldn’t do it, and when I politely raised the issue in subsequent email communications, they still had nothing to offer months later. They saw the problem. They didn’t dismiss the challenge as trivial. But they couldn’t offer an alternative. In other words, the IP metaphor is ‘sticky’. It encumbers our thinking with language and ideas that are so powerful we have trouble thinking around them.
neuroscience  science  cognitive_science 
march 2019 by paniedejmirade
Neural representation of visual concepts in people born blind | Nature Communications
How do we represent information without sensory features? How are abstract concepts like “freedom”, devoid of external perceptible referents, represented in the brain? Here, to address the role of sensory information in the neural representation of concepts, we used fMRI to investigate how people born blind process concepts whose referents are imperceptible to them because of their visual nature (“rainbow”, “red”). Activity for these concepts was compared to that of sensorially-perceptible referents (“rain”), classical abstract concepts (“justice”) and concrete concepts (“cup”), providing a gradient between fully concrete and fully abstract concepts in the blind. We find that anterior temporal lobe (ATL) responses track concept perceptibility and objecthood: preference for imperceptible object concepts was found in dorsal ATL, for abstract (non-object, non-referential) concepts in lateral ATL, and for perceptible concepts in medial ATL. These findings point to a new division-of-labor among aspects of ATL in representing conceptual properties that are abstract in different ways.

--Yet another neural localization of representation study. But it is an interesting idea, something Jackendoff discusses using his generative semantics in one of his papers.
neural_representation  cognitive_science  moral_psychology  language  via:pinker 
march 2019 by rvenkat
THE GAP
"There exists an undeniable chasm between the capacities of humans and those of animals. Our minds have spawned civilizations and technologies that have changed the face of the Earth, whereas even our closest animal relatives sit unobtrusively in their dwindling habitats. Yet despite longstanding debates, the nature of this apparent gap has remained unclear. What exactly is the difference between our minds and theirs?

In The Gap, psychologist Thomas Suddendorf provides a definitive account of the mental qualities that separate humans from other animals, as well as how these differences arose. Drawing on two decades of research on apes, children, and human evolution, he surveys the abilities most often cited as uniquely human—language, intelligence, morality, culture, theory of mind, and mental time travel—and finds that two traits account for most of the ways in which our minds appear so distinct: Namely, our openended ability to imagine and reflect on scenarios, and our insatiable drive to link our minds together. These two traits explain how our species was able to amplify qualities that we inherited in parallel with our animal counterparts; transforming animal communication into language, memory into mental time travel, sociality into mind reading, problem solving into abstract reasoning, traditions into culture, and empathy into morality.

Suddendorf concludes with the provocative suggestion that our unrivaled status may be our own creation—and that the gap is growing wider not so much because we are becoming smarter but because we are killing off our closest intelligent animal relatives. Weaving together the latest findings in animal behavior, child development, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience, this book will change the way we think about our place in nature. A major argument for reconsidering what makes us human, The Gap is essential reading for anyone interested in our evolutionary origins and our relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom."
cognitive_science  thomas.suddendorf  book  evolution 
january 2019 by MarcK
Cognition and Intractability by Iris van Rooij
Intractability is a growing concern across the cognitive sciences: while many models of cognition can describe and predict human behavior in the lab, it remains unclear how these models can scale to situations of real-world complexity. Cognition and Intractability is the first book to provide an accessible introduction to computational complexity analysis and its application to questions of intractability in cognitive science. Covering both classical and parameterized complexity analysis, it introduces the mathematical concepts and proof techniques that can be used to test one's intuition of (in)tractability. It also describes how these tools can be applied to cognitive modeling to deal with intractability, and its ramifications, in a systematic way. Aimed at students and researchers in philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and linguistics who want to build a firm understanding of intractability and its implications in their modeling work, it is an ideal resource for teaching or self-study.
book  cognitive_science  computational_complexity  rationality  heuristics  via:cshalizi 
january 2019 by rvenkat
Cognition and Intractability by Iris van Rooij
"Intractability is a growing concern across the cognitive sciences: while many models of cognition can describe and predict human behavior in the lab, it remains unclear how these models can scale to situations of real-world complexity. Cognition and Intractability is the first book to provide an accessible introduction to computational complexity analysis and its application to questions of intractability in cognitive science. Covering both classical and parameterized complexity analysis, it introduces the mathematical concepts and proof techniques that can be used to test one's intuition of (in)tractability. It also describes how these tools can be applied to cognitive modeling to deal with intractability, and its ramifications, in a systematic way. Aimed at students and researchers in philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and linguistics who want to build a firm understanding of intractability and its implications in their modeling work, it is an ideal resource for teaching or self-study."
to:NB  books:noted  computational_complexity  cognitive_science  bounded_rationality 
january 2019 by cshalizi
Computational Modeling of Cognition and Behavior by Simon Farrell
"Computational modeling is now ubiquitous in psychology, and researchers who are not modelers may find it increasingly difficult to follow the theoretical developments in their field. This book presents an integrated framework for the development and application of models in psychology and related disciplines. Researchers and students are given the knowledge and tools to interpret models published in their area, as well as to develop, fit, and test their own models. Both the development of models and key features of any model are covered, as are the applications of models in a variety of domains across the behavioural sciences. A number of chapters are devoted to fitting models using maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimation, including fitting hierarchical and mixture models. Model comparison is described as a core philosophy of scientific inference, and the use of models to understand theories and advance scientific discourse is explained."
to:NB  books:noted  downloaded  cognitive_science 
january 2019 by cshalizi
Massive increase in visual range preceded the origin of terrestrial vertebrates | PNAS
The evolution of terrestrial vertebrates, starting around 385 million years ago, is an iconic moment in evolution that brings to mind images of fish transforming into four-legged animals. Here, we show that this radical change in body shape was preceded by an equally dramatic change in sensory abilities akin to transitioning from seeing over short distances in a dense fog to seeing over long distances on a clear day. Measurements of eye sockets and simulations of their evolution show that eyes nearly tripled in size just before vertebrates began living on land. Computational simulations of these animal’s visual ecology show that for viewing objects through water, the increase in eye size provided a negligible increase in performance. However, when viewing objects through air, the increase in eye size provided a large increase in performance. The jump in eye size was, therefore, unlikely to have arisen for seeing through water and instead points to an unexpected hybrid of seeing through air while still primarily inhabiting water. Our results and several anatomical innovations arising at the same time suggest lifestyle similarity to crocodiles. The consequent combination of the increase in eye size and vision through air would have conferred a 1 million-fold increase in the amount of space within which objects could be seen. The “buena vista” hypothesis that our data suggest is that seeing opportunities from afar played a role in the subsequent evolution of fully terrestrial limbs as well as the emergence of elaborated action sequences through planning circuits in the nervous system.
evolutionary_biology  cognitive_science  neuroscience  information_theory  philosophy_of_biology 
december 2018 by rvenkat
Search in External and Internal Spaces: Evidence for Generalized Cognitive Search Processes - Thomas T. Hills, Peter M. Todd, Robert L. Goldstone, 2008
There is compelling molecular and behavioral evidence that goal-directed cognition is an evolutionary descendant of spatial-foraging behavior. Across animal species, similar dopaminergic processes modulate between exploratory and exploitative foraging behaviors and control attention. Consequently, we hypothesized that spatialforaging activity could prime attentional cognitive activity. We examined how searching in physical space influences subsequent search in abstract cognitive space by presenting participants with a spatial-foraging task followed by a repeated Scrabble task involving search for words that could be made from letter sets. Participants who searched through clumpier distributions in space behaved as if words were more densely clumped in the Scrabble task. This was not a function of arousal, but was consistent with predictions of optimal-foraging theory. Furthermore, individual differences in exploratory search were conserved across the two types of tasks. Along with the biological evidence, our results support the idea that there are generalized cognitive search processes.
cognition  cognitive_science  dynamical_system  markov_models  learning  decison_theory 
november 2018 by rvenkat
PsyArXiv Preprints | Rationality without optimality: Bounded and ecological rationality from a Marrian perspective
Ecological rationality provides an alternative to the view that rational responses to environmental uncertainty are optimal probabilistic responses. Focusing on the ecological rationality of simple heuristics, critics have enlisted Marr's levels of analysis and the distinction between function and mechanism to argue that the study of ecological rationality addresses the question of how organisms make decisions, but not the question of what constitutes a rational decision and why. The claim is that the insights of ecological rationality are, after the fact, reducible to instances of optimal Bayesian inference and require principles of Bayesian rationality to explain. Here, I respond to these critiques by clarifying that ecological rationality is more than a set of algorithmic conjectures. It is also driven by statistical commitments governing the treatment of unquantifiable uncertainty. This statistical perspective establishes why ecological rationality is distinct from Bayesian optimality, is incompatible with Marr's levels of analysis, and undermines a strict separation of function and mechanism. This argument finds support in Marr's broader but largely overlooked views on information processing systems and Savage's stance on the limits on Bayesian decision theory. Rationality principles make assumptions, and ecological rationality assumes that environmental uncertainty can render optimal probabilistic responses indeterminable.
bayesian  cognitive_science  rational_choice  rationality  critique 
november 2018 by rvenkat
Nicholas Shea, Representation in Cognitive Science - PhilArchive
"How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences."
via:cshalizi  book  philosophy_of_science  cognitive_science 
november 2018 by rvenkat
Nicholas Shea, Representation in Cognitive Science - PhilArchive
"How can we think about things in the outside world? There is still no widely accepted theory of how mental representations get their meaning. In light of pioneering research, Nicholas Shea develops a naturalistic account of the nature of mental representation with a firm focus on the subpersonal representations that pervade the cognitive sciences."
to:NB  books:noted  cognitive_science  representation  philosophy_of_mind  books:owned 
november 2018 by cshalizi

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