Classical cognitive science has been characterized by an association with the computational theory of mind. Although this association has produced highly significant results, it has also limited the scope of scientific psychology. In this paper, we analyse the limits of the specific kind of computational model represented by the Chomskian-Fodorian tradition in the study of mind and language. In our opinion, the adhesion to the principle of formality imposed by this specific computational model has motivated the exclusion of consciousness in (...) the reflection on language and, consequently, has led to the inability to account for some aspects of language functioning at the processing level of discourse. The aim of this article is to restore the role of consciousness in discourse comprehension and production processes. Specifically, we argue that the ability to produce and understand discourses is based on individuals’ capacity for navigation in space and time. We will show that the space–time orientation is guaranteed by the projection of the self, which involves a special kind of consciousness. (shrink)
Landmarks play an important role in guiding navigational behavior. A host of studies in the last 15 years has demonstrated that environmental objects can act as landmarks for navigation in different ways. In this review, we propose a parsimonious four-part taxonomy for conceptualizing object location information during navigation. We begin by outlining object properties that appear to be important for a landmark to attain salience. We then systematically examine the different functions of objects as navigational landmarks based on (...) previous behavioral and neuroanatomical findings in rodents and humans. Evidence is presented showing that single environmental objects can function as navigational beacons, or act as associative or orientation cues. In addition, we argue that extended surfaces or boundaries can act as landmarks by providing a frame of reference for encoding spatial information. The present review provides a concise taxonomy of the use of visual objects as landmarks in navigation and should serve as a useful reference for future research into landmark-based spatial navigation. (shrink)
This correlational study investigated a new measure of environmental spatial ability (i.e., large scale spatial ability) called the Virtual Spatial Navigation Assessment (VSNA). In the VSNA, participants must find a set of gems in a virtual 3D environment using a first person avatar on a computer. The VSNA runs in a web browser and automatically collects the time taken to find each gem. The time taken to collect gems in the VSNA was significantly correlated to three oth-er spatial ability (...) measures, math standardized test scores, and choice to be in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) career. These findings support the validity of the VSNA as a measure of environmental spatial ability. Finally, self-report video game experience was also significantly correlated to the VSNA suggesting that video game may improve environmental spatial ability. Recommendations are made for how the VSNA can be used to help guide individuals toward STEM career paths and identify weaknesses that might be addressed with large scale spatial navigation training. (shrink)
We have considered a simple word game called the word-morph. After making our participants play a stipulated number of word-morph games, we have analyzed the experimental data. We have given a detailed analysis of the learning involved in solving this word game. We propose that people are inclined to learn landmarks when they are asked to navigate from a source to a destination. We note that these landmarks are nodes that have high closeness-centrality ranking.
Cancer-related electronic support groups (ESGs) may be regarded as a complement to face-to-face groups when the latter are available, and as an alternative when they are not. Advantages over face-to-face groups include an absence of barriers imposed by geographic location, opportunities for anonymity that permit sensitive issues to be discussed, and opportunities to find peers online. ESGs can be especially valuable as navigation aids for those trying to find a way through the healthcare system and as a guide to (...) the cancer journey. Outcome indicators that could be used to evaluate the quality of ESGs as navigation aids need to be developed and tested. Conceptual models for the navigator role, such as the Facilitating Navigator Model, are appropriate for ESGs designed specifically for research purposes. A Shared or Tacit Model may be more appropriate for unmoderated ESGs. Both conceptual models raise issues in Internet research ethics that need to be address. (shrink)
This article presents results from simulations studying the hypothesis that mechanisms for landmark-based navigation could have served as preadaptations for compositional language. It is argued that sharing directions would significantly have helped bridge the gap between general and language-specific cognitive faculties. A number of different levels of navigational and communicative abilities are considered, resulting in a range of possible evolutionary paths. The selective pressures for, resp. against, increased complexity in either faculty are then evaluated for a range of environments. (...) The study aims specifically to identify whether there is a viable evolutionary path leading to compositional language, and if so, under what circumstances. The results show that environmental conditions can render a step towards more complex communication either desirable or harmul, and suggest that very specific initial conditions and changes in the environment, resp. the ecological niche occupied, would have been needed to select for compositional language. Subject to these conditions, a (proto)language using order, but no hierarchical structure could evolve. This represents a middle ground, which brings closer hypotheses about syntax that have so far appeared difficult to reconcile. (shrink)
In this article, we describe an ontology aimed at the representation of the relevant entities and relations in the philosophical world. We will guide the reader through our modeling choices, so to highlight the ontology’s practical purpose: to enable an annotation of philosophical resources which is capable of supporting pedagogical navigation mechanisms. The ontology covers all the aspects of philosophy, thus including characterizations of entities such as people, events, documents, and ideas. In particular, here we will present a detailed (...) exposition of the entities belonging to the idea branch of the ontology, for they have a crucial role in the world of philosophy. Moreover, as an example of the type of applications made possible by the ontology we will introduce PhiloSurfical, a prototype tool we created to navigate contextually a classic work in twentieth century philosophy, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. We discuss the potential usage of such navigation mechanisms in educational and scholarly contexts, which aim to enhance the learning process through the serendipitous discovery of relevant resources. (shrink)
Jeffery et al. propose a non-uniform representation of three-dimensional space during navigation. Fittingly, we recently revealed asymmetries between horizontal and vertical path integration in humans. We agree that representing navigation in more than two dimensions increases computational load and suggest that tendencies to maintain upright head posture may help constrain computational processing, while distorting neural representation of three-dimensional navigation.
In this commentary, we highlight a difficulty for metric navigation arising from recent data with grid and place cells: the integration of piecemeal representations of space in environments with repeated boundaries. Put simply, it is unclear how place and grid cells might provide a global representation of distance when their fields appear to represent repeated boundaries within an environment. One implication of this is that the capacity for spatial inferences may be limited.
The study of spatial cognition has provided considerable insight into how animals (including humans) navigate on the horizontal plane. However, the real world is three-dimensional, having a complex topography including both horizontal and vertical features, which presents additional challenges for representation and navigation. The present article reviews the emerging behavioral and neurobiological literature on spatial cognition in non-horizontal environments. We suggest that three-dimensional spaces are represented in a quasi-planar fashion, with space in the plane of locomotion being computed separately (...) and represented differently from space in the orthogonal axis bicoded.” We argue that the mammalian spatial representation in surface-travelling animals comprises a mosaic of these locally planar fragments, rather than a fully integrated volumetric map. More generally, this may be true even for species that can move freely in all three dimensions, such as birds and fish. We outline the evidence supporting this view, together with the adaptive advantages of such a scheme. (shrink)
Thach's target article presents a remarkable overview and integration of animal and human studies on the functions of the cerebellum and makes clear theoretical predictions for both the normal operation of the cerebellum and for the effects of cerebellar lesions in the mature human. Commentary is provided on three areas, namely, spatial navigation, implicit learning, and cerebellar agenesis to elicit further development of the themes already present in Thach's paper, [THACH].
We describe an augmented topological map as an alternative for the proposed bicoded map. Inverting causality, the special nature of the vertical dimension is then no longer fixed a priori and the cause of specific navigation behavior, but a consequence of the combination of the specific geometry of the experimental environment and the motor capabilities of the experimental animals.
Evidence from egocentric space is cited to support bicoding of navigation in three-dimensional space. Horizontal distances and space are processed differently from the vertical. Indeed, effector systems are compatible in horizontal space, but potentially incompatible (or chaotic) during transitions to vertical motion. Navigation involves changes in coordinates, and animal models of navigation indicate that time has an important role.
Mercier & Sperber (M&S) argue for their argumentative theory in terms of communicative abilities. Insights can be gained by extending the discussion beyond human reasoning to rodent and robot navigation. The selection of arguments and conclusions that are mutually reinforcing can be cast as a form of abductive reasoning that I argue underlies the construction of cognitive maps in navigation tasks.
We have argued that the neurocognitive representation of large-scale, navigable three-dimensional space is anisotropic, having different properties in vertical versus horizontal dimensions. Three broad categories organize the experimental and theoretical issues raised by the commentators: (1) frames of reference, (2) comparative cognition, and (3) the role of experience. These categories contain the core of a research program to show how three-dimensional space is represented and used by humans and other animals.
Single-cell studies of monkey posterior parietal cortex (PPC) have revealed the extensive neuronal representations of three-dimensional subject motion and three-dimensional layout of the environment. I propose that navigational planning integrates this PPC information, including gravity signals, with horizontal-plane based information provided by the hippocampal formation, modified in primates by expansion of the ventral stream.
This article pursues overlapping points about ontology, philosophical method, and our kinship with and difference from nonhuman animals. The ontological point is that being is determinately different in different places not because of differences, or even a space, already given in advance, but in virtue of a negative in being that is regional and rooted in place, which Mer-leau-Ponty calls the “hollow.” The methodological point is that we tend to miss this ontological point because we are inclined to what I (...) call transportable thinking, which conceives of things and spatial determinacy itself as being what they are independent of where they are. I argue that we are inclined this way because, in contrast to other animals, we have a weak sense of where we are. We are lost animals. To compensate for lostness, we abstract ourselves from place and conceptualize ourselves and things by way of a transportable, Cartesian “view from above.”. (shrink)
To deal with reactive sequential decision tasks we present a learning model Clarion which is a hybrid connectionist model consisting of both localist and dis tributed representations based on the two level ap proach proposed in Sun The model learns and utilizes procedural and declarative knowledge tapping into the synergy of the two types of processes It uni es neural reinforcement and symbolic methods to perform on line bottom up learning Experiments in various situations are reported that shed light on (...) the working of the model.. (shrink)
Learning a novel environment involves integrating first-person perceptual and motoric experiences with developing knowledge about the overall structure of the surroundings. The present experiments provide insights into the parallel development of these egocentric and allocentric memories by intentionally conflicting body- and world-centered frames of reference during learning, and measuring outcomes via online and offline measures. Results of two experiments demonstrate faster learning and increased memory flexibility following route perspective reading (Experiment 1) and virtual navigation (Experiment 2) when participants begin (...) exploring the environment on a northward (vs. any other direction) allocentric heading. We suggest that learning advantages due to aligning body-centered (left/right/forward/back) with world-centered (NSEW) reference frames are indicative of three features of spatial memory development and representation. First, memories for egocentric and allocentric information develop in parallel during novel environment learning. Second, cognitive maps have a preferred orientation relative to world-centered coordinates. Finally, this preferred orientation corresponds to traditional orientation of physical maps (i.e., north is upward), suggesting strong associations between daily perceptual and motor experiences and the manner in which we preferentially represent spatial knowledge. (shrink)
For many centuries, philosophers and scientists have pondered the origins and nature of human intuitions about the properties of points, lines, and figures on the Euclidean plane, with most hypothesizing that a system of Euclidean concepts either is innate or is assembled by general learning processes. Recent research from cognitive and developmental psychology, cognitive anthropology, animal cognition, and cognitive neuroscience suggests a different view. Knowledge of geometry may be founded on at least two distinct, evolutionarily ancient, core cognitive systems for (...) representing the shapes of large-scale, navigable surface layouts and of small-scale, movable forms and objects. Each of these systems applies to some but not all perceptible arrays and captures some but not all of the three fundamental Euclidean relationships of distance (or length), angle, and direction (or sense). Like natural number (Carey, 2009), Euclidean geometry may be constructed through the productive combination of representations from these core systems, through the use of uniquely human symbolic systems. (shrink)
Enacted theories of consciousness conjecture that perception and cognition arise from an active experience of the regular relations that are tying together the sensory stimulation of different modalities and associated motor actions. Previous experiments investigated this concept by employing the technique of sensory substitution. Building on these studies, here we test a set of hypotheses derived from this framework and investigate the utility of sensory augmentation in handicapped people. We provide a late blind subject with a new set of sensorimotor (...) laws: A vibro-tactile belt continually signals the direction of magnetic north. The subject completed a set of behavioral tests before and after an extended training period. The tests were complemented by questionnaires and interviews. This newly supplied information improved performance on different time scales. In a pointing task we demonstrate an instant improvement of performance based on the signal provided by the device. Furthermore, the signal was helpful in relevant daily tasks, often complicated for the blind, such as keeping a direction over longer distances or taking shortcuts in familiar environments. A homing task with an additional attentional load demonstrated a significant improvement after training. The subject found the directional information highly expedient for the adjustment of his inner maps of familiar environments and describes an increase in his feeling of security when exploring unfamiliar environments with the belt. The results give evidence for a firm integration of the newly supplied signals into the behavior of this late blind subject with better navigational performance and more courageous behavior in unfamiliar environments. Most importantly, the complementary information provided by the belt lead to a positive emotional impact with enhanced feeling of security. This experimental approach demonstrates the potential of sensory augmentation devices for the help of handicapped people. (shrink)
Dennett argues that the decentralized view of human cognitive organization finding increasing support in parts of cognitive science undermines talk of an inner self. On his view, the causal underpinnings of behavior are distributed across a collection of autonomous subsystems operating without any centralized supervision. Selves are fictions contrived to simplify description and facilitate prediction of behavior with no real correlate inside the mind. Dennett often uses an analogy with termite colonies whose behavior looks organized and purposeful to the external (...) eye, but which is actually the emergent product of uncoordinated activity of separate components marching to the beat of their individual drums. I examine the cognitive organization of a system steering by an internal model of self and environment, and argue that it provides a model that lies between the image of mind as termite colony and a naïve Cartesianism that views the self as inner substance. (shrink)
In the last few decades, there has been a genuine ‘adaptive turn’ in psychiatry, resulting in evolutionary accounts for an increasing number of psychopathologies. In this paper, I explore the advantages and problems with the two main evolutionary approaches to depression, namely the mismatch and persistence accounts . I will argue that while both evolutionary theories of depression might provide some helpful perspectives, the accounts also harbor significant flaws that might question their authority and usefulness as explanations.
A hypertext learner navigates with a instinctive feeling for a knowledge. The learner does not know her queries, although she has a feeling for them. A learnerâs navigation appears as complete upon the emergence of an aesthetic pleasure, called rasa. The order of arrival or the associational logic and even the temporal order are not relevant to this emergence. The completeness of aesthetics is important. The learner does not look for the intention of the writer, neither does she look (...) for significance. Lexia has a suggestive power and she is suggested in the arrival of aesthetics. Hypertext learning does not depend on communication. The learner in her pleasure transgresses the bounds of space-time to be in communion with several writers/learners. Hypertext learning does not appear to be fundamentally different from the analog learning; however, in performance, as in navigation, the learner assumes a mental state that helps her in her emergence into aesthetic bliss, of an arrival to the completed lexial navigation. This completeness is owing to aesthetics and is not owing to either the semantics or the query-fulfilling qualities. (shrink)
This study concerns navigation in a geographical sense and in the sense of the reader finding a way through a complex text with the help of points of reference. Recent studies in Athenaeus have suggested that he was a more sophisticated writer than the second-hand compiler of Hellenistic comment on classical Greek authors, which has been a dominant view. Building on these studies, this article argues thatAthenaeus� approach to his history of ancient dining draws on traditional poetic links between (...) the symposium and the sea, and expands such metaphors with a major interest in place and provenance, which also belongs to the literature of the symposium. Provenance at the same time evokes a theme of imperial thought, that Rome can attract to herself all the good things of the earth that are now under her sway. Good things include foods and the literary heritage of Greece now housed in imperial libraries. Athenaeus deploys themes of navigation ambiguously, to celebrate diversity and to warn against the dangers of luxury. Notorious examples of luxury are presented � the Sybarites and Capuans, for example � but there seem to be oblique warnings to Rome as well. Much clearer censure is reserved for the gastronomic poem of Archestratus of Gela, which surveys the best cities in which to eat certain fish. The Deipnosophists deplore the immorality of the poet and his radical rewriting of their key authors Homer and Plato, while at the same time quoting him extensively for the range of his reference to geography and fish. This commentary onArchestratus is a good example of the Deipnosophists� guidance to the reader, Roman or otherwise, who wishes to �navigate� the complicated history of the Greek deipnon and symposium. (shrink)
Jeffery et al. extensively and thoroughly describe how different species navigate through a three-dimensional environment. Undeniably, the world offers numerous three-dimensional opportunities. However, we argue that for most navigation tasks a two-dimensional representation is nevertheless sufficient, as physical conditions and limitations such as gravity, thermoclines, or layers of earth encountered in a specific situation provide the very elevation data the navigating individual needs.