Internal models and the construction of time: generalizing from state estimation to trajectory estimation to address temporal features of perception, including temporal illusions

Abstract
The question of whether time is its own best representation is explored. Though there is theoretical debate between proponents of internal models and embedded cognition proponents (e.g. Brooks R 1991 Artificial Intelligence 47 139–59) concerning whether the world is its own best model, proponents of internal models are often content to let time be its own best representation. This happens via the time update of the model that simply allows the model’s state to evolve along with the state of the modeled domain. I argue that this is neither necessary nor advisable. I show that this is not necessary by describing how internal modeling approaches can be generalized to schemes that explicitly represent time by maintaining trajectory estimates rather than state estimates. Though there are a variety of ways this could be done, I illustrate the proposal with a scheme that combines filtering, smoothing and prediction to maintain an estimate of the modeled domain’s trajectory over time. I show that letting time be its own representation is not advisable by showing how trajectory estimation schemes can provide accounts of temporal illusions, such as apparent motion, that pose serious difficulties for any scheme that lets time be its own representation.
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