There are good, even if inconclusive reasons to think that cognitivepenetration of perception occurs: that cognitive states like belief causally affect, in a relatively direct way, the contents of perceptual experience. The supposed importance of—indeed as it is suggested here, what is definitive of—this possible phenomenon is that it would result in important epistemic and scientific consequences. One interesting and intuitive consequence entirely unremarked in the extant literature concerns the perception of art. Intuition has it that (...) knowledge about art changes how one aesthetically evaluates artworks. A profound explanation of this intuitive fact is that perceptual experiences vary with artistic expertise. Cognitivepenetration provides an explanatory mechanism for this latter effect. What one knows or otherwise thinks about art may affect, in one of two ways sketched below, how one perceives art. Differences in aesthetic evaluation may follow, either because high-level aesthetic properties can be perceptually represented or because they supervene on low-level perceptible properties. All of this lends credence to the hypothesis that the expert better judges art because she better perceives art. And she better perceives art because she better knows art. (shrink)
This is an excerpt from a report that highlights and explores five questions which arose from the workshop on perceptual learning and perceptual recognition at the University of Toronto, Mississauga on May 10th and 11th, 2012. This excerpt explores the question: What counts as cognitivepenetration?
Philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists have recently taken renewed interest in cognitivepenetration, in particular, in the cognitivepenetration of perceptual experience. The question is whether cognitive states like belief influence perceptual experience in some important way. Since the possible phenomenon is an empirical one, the strategy for analysis has, predictably, proceeded as follows: define the phenomenon and then, definition in hand, interpret various psychological data. However, different theorists offer different and apparently inconsistent (...) definitions. And so in addition to the usual problems (e.g., definitions being challenged by counterexample), an important result is that different theorists apply their definitions and accordingly get conflicting answers to the question “Is this a genuine case of cognitivepenetration?”. This hurdle to philosophical and scientific progress can be remedied, I argue, by returning attention to the alleged consequences of the possible phenomenon. There are three: theory-ladenness of perception in contexts of scientific theory choice, a threat to the general epistemic role of perception, and implications for mental architecture. Any attempt to characterize or define, and then empirically test for, cognitivepenetration should be constrained by these consequences. This is a method for interpreting and acquiring experimental data in a way that is agreeable to both sides of the cognitivepenetration debate. Put crudely, the question shifts to “Is this a cognitive-perceptual relation that results in (or constitutes) one or more of the relevant consequences?” In answering this question, relative to various data, it may turn out that there is no single unified phenomenon of cognitivepenetration. But this should be no matter, since it is the consequences that are of central importance to philosophers and scientists alike. (shrink)
Is perception cognitively penetrable, and what are the epistemological consequences if it is? I address the latter of these two questions, partly by reference to recent work by Athanassios Raftopoulos and Susanna Seigel. Against the usual, circularity, readings of cognitive penetrability, I argue that cognitivepenetration can be epistemically virtuous, when---and only when---it increases the reliability of perception.
Perception is typically distinguished from cognition. For example, seeing is importantly different from believing. And while what one sees clearly influences what one thinks, it is debatable whether what one believes and otherwise thinks can influence, in some direct and non-trivial way, what one sees. The latter possible relation is the cognitivepenetration of perception. Cognitivepenetration, if it occurs, has implications for philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. This paper offers (...) an analysis of the phenomenon, its theoretical consequences, and a variety of experimental results and possible interpretations of them. The paper concludes by proposing some constraints for analyses and definitions of cognitive penetrability. (shrink)
Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen (at least in certain ways that are identified in the paper) then one thinks that there can be cognitivepenetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitivepenetration that cannot be explained (...) away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitivepenetration that explains how cognitivepenetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism. (shrink)
Short-term memory, nonattentional task effects and nonspatial extraretinal representations in the visual system are signs of cognitivepenetration. All of these have been found physiologically, arguing against the cognitive impenetrability of vision as a whole. Instead, parallel subcircuits in the brain, each subserving a different competency including sensory and cognitive (and in some cases motor) aspects, may have cognitively impenetrable components.
Experiences—visual, emotional, or otherwise—play a role in providing us with justification to believe claims about the world. Some accounts of how experiences provide justification emphasize the role of the experiences’ distinctive phenomenology, i.e. ‘what it is like’ to have the experience. Other accounts emphasize the justificatory role to the experiences’ etiology. A number of authors have used cases of cognitively penetrated visual experience to raise an epistemic challenge for theories of perceptual justification that emphasize the justificatory role of phenomenology rather (...) than etiology. Proponents of the challenge argue that cognitively penetrated visual experiences can fail to provide the usual justification because they have improper etiologies. However, extant arguments for the challenge’s key claims are subject to formidable objections. In this paper, I present the challenge’s key claims, raise objections to previous attempts to establish them, and then offer a novel argument in support of the challenge. My argument relies on an analogy between cognitively penetrated visual and emotional experiences. I argue that some emotional experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their improper etiologies and conclude that analogous cognitively penetrated visual experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their etiologies, as well. (shrink)
This paper considers an orectic penetration hypothesis which says that desires and desire-like states may influence perceptual experience in a non-externally mediated way. This hypothesis is clarified with a definition, which serves further to distinguish the interesting target phenomenon from trivial and non-genuine instances of desire-influenced perception. Orectic penetration is an interesting possible case of the cognitive penetrability of perceptual experience. The orectic penetration hypothesis is thus incompatible with the more common thesis that perception is cognitively (...) impenetrable. It is of importance to issues in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, epistemology, and general philosophy of science. The plausibility of orectic perception can be motivated by some classic experimental studies, and some new experimental research inspired by those same studies. The general suggestion is that orectic penetration thus defined, and evidenced by the relevant studies, cannot be deflected by the standard strategies of the cognitive impenetrability theorist. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptual learning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: Can perceptual experience be modified by reason?
How can the impenetrability hypothesis be empirically tested? We comment on the role of signal detection measures, suggesting that context effects on discriminations for which post-perceptual cues are irrelevant, or on neural activity associated with early vision, would challenge impenetrability. We also note the great computational power of the proposed pre-perceptual attention processes and consider the implications for testability of the theory.
Several psychological experiments have suggested that concepts can influence perceived color (e.g., Delk and Fillenbaum in Am J Psychol 78(2):290–293, 1965, Hansen et al. in Nat Neurosci 9(11):1367–1368, 2006, Olkkonen et al. in J Vis 8(5):1–16, 2008). Observers tend to assign typical colors to objects even when the objects do not have those colors. Recently, these findings were used to argue that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable (Macpherson 2012). This interpretation of the experiments has far-reaching consequences: it implies that the (...) way we think of objects determines how we see them, thus threatening the role of perception in justifying beliefs. In this paper, I show that the psychological findings can be accounted for without admitting cognitive penetrability. An underestimated but key feature of the experiments is that observers had to judge colors in borderline cases, in conditions of reduced acuity, or on the basis of color-concepts instead of matching. Such judgments are sensitive to the form of bias that Tversky and Kahneman (Science 185:1124–1131, 1974) have termed ‘anchoring’. Adopting a suggestion from Raffman (Philos Rev 103(1):41–74, 1994), I argue that the way subjects in the experiments think of the objects could affect their color judgments without altering their color experiences. (shrink)
This paper discusses a counterexample to the thesis that visual experience is cognitively impenetrable. My central claim is that sometimes visual experience is influenced by the perceiver’s beliefs, rendering her experience’s representational content indeterminate. After discussing other examples of cognitive penetrability, I focus on a certain kind of visual experience— that is, an experience that occurs under radically nonstandard conditions—and show that it may have indeterminate content, particularly with respect to low-level properties such as colors and shapes. I then (...) explain how this indeterminacy depends on the perceiver’s beliefs or thoughts. Finally, I attempt to generalize the case and show how other sorts of visual experiences can also be penetrated by beliefs and, hence, be indeterminate. (shrink)
I distinguish between two kinds of selection effects on experience: selection of objects or features for experience, and anti-selection of experiences for cognitive uptake. I discuss the idea that both kinds of selection effects can lead to a form of confirmation bias at the level of perception, and argue that when this happens, selection effects can influence the rational role of experience.
Pylyshyn acknowledges that cognition intervenes in determining the nature of perception when attention is allocated to locations or properties prior to the operation of early vision. I present evidence that scale perception (one function of early vision) is cognitively penetrable and argue that Pylyshyn's criterion covers not a few, but many situations of recognition. Cognitive penetrability could be their modus operandi.
The view that moral cognition is subserved by a two-tieredarchitecture is defended: Moral reasoning is the result both ofspecialized, informationally encapsulated modules which automaticallyand effortlessly generate intuitions; and of general-purpose,cognitively penetrable mechanisms which enable moral judgment in thelight of the agent's general fund of knowledge. This view is contrastedwith rival architectures of social/moral cognition, such as Cosmidesand Tooby's view that the mind is wholly modular, and it is argued thata two-tiered architecture is more plausible.
Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to general cognition. This paper sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, Psychophysics, perceptual learning and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, which may be called early vision or just (...) vision, is prohibited from accessing relevant expectations, knowledge and utilities - in other words it is cognitively impenetrable. That part of vision is complex and articulated and provides a representation of the 3-D surfaces of objects sufficient to serve as an index into memory, with somewhat different outputs being made available to other systems such as those dealing with motor control. The paper also addresses certain conceptual and methodological issues, including the use of signal detection theory and event-related potentials to assess cognitivepenetration of vision. A distinction is made among several stages in visual processing. These include, in addition to the inflexible early-vision stage, a pre-perceptual attention allocation stage and a post-perceptual evaluation, memory-accessing, and inference stage which provide several different highly constrained ways in which cognition can affect the outcome of visual perception. The paper discusses arguments that have been presented in both computer vision and psychology showing that vision is "intelligent" and involves elements of problem solving". It is suggested that these cases do not show cognitivepenetration, but rather they show that certain natural constraints on interpretation, concerned primarily with optical and geometrical properties of the world, have been compiled into the visual system. The paper also examines a number of examples where instructions and "hints" are alleged to affect. (shrink)
We offer an ecological (Gibsonian) alternative to cognitive (im)penetrability. Whereas Pylyshyn explains cognitive (im)penetrability by focusing solely on computations carried out by the nervous system, according to the ecological approach the perceiver as a knowing agent influences the entire animal-environmental system: in the determination of what constitutes the environment (affordances), what constitutes information, what information is detected and, thus, what is perceived.
Since the seventies, it has been customary to assume that intentionality is independent of consciousness. Recently, a number of philosophers have rejected this assumption, claiming intentionality is closely tied to consciousness, inasmuch as non- conscious intentionality in some sense depends upon conscious intentionality. Within this alternative framework, the question arises of how to account for unconscious intentionality, and different authors have offered different accounts. In this paper, I compare and contrast four possible accounts of unconscious intentionality, which I call potentialism, (...) inferentialism, eliminativism, and interpretivism. The first three are the leading accounts in the existing literature, while the fourth is my own proposal, which I argue to be superior. I then argue that an upshot of interpretivism is that all unconscious intentionality is ultimately grounded is a specific kind of cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
This article clarifies three principles that should guide the development of any cognitive ontology. First, that an adequate cognitive ontology depends essentially on an adequate task ontology; second, that the goal of developing a cognitive ontology is independent of the goal of finding neural implementations of the processes referred to in the ontology; and third, that cognitive ontologies are neutral regarding the metaphysical relationship between cognitive and neural processes.
Cognitive systems research has predominantly been guided by the historical distinction between emotion and cognition, and has focused its efforts on modelling the “cognitive” aspects of behaviour. While this initially meant modelling only the control system of cognitive creatures, with the advent of “embodied” cognitive science this expanded to also modelling the interactions between the control system and the external environment. What did not seem to change with this embodiment revolution, however, was the attitude towards affect (...) and emotion in cognitive science. This paper argues that cognitive systems research is now beginning to integrate these aspects of natural cognitive systems into cognitive science proper, not in virtue of traditional “embodied cognitive science”, which focuses predominantly on the body’s gross morphology, but rather in virtue of research into the interoceptive, organismic basis of natural cognitive systems. (shrink)
This article tries to create a bridge of understanding between cognitive scientists and phenomenologists who work on attention. In light of a phenomenology of attention and current psychological and neuropsychological literature on attention, I translate and interpret into phenomenological terms 20 key cognitive science concepts as examined in the laboratory and used in leading journals. As a preface to the lexicon, I outline a phenomenology of attention, especially as a dynamic three-part structure, which I have freely amended from (...) the work of phenomenologist and Gestalt philosopher Aron Gurwitsch (1901â1973). As a conclusion, I discuss the nature of subjectivity in attention and attention research, and whether attention might be the same as consciousness. (shrink)
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstract ideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate a plausible (...) theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstract ideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
This report highlights and explores five questions which arose from the workshop on perceptual learning and perceptual recognition at the University of Toronto, Mississauga on May 10th and 11th, 2012: 1. How should we demarcate perceptual learning from perceptual development? 2. What are the origins of multimodal associations? 3. Does our representation of time provide an amodal framework for multi-sensory integration? 4. What counts as cognitivepenetration? 5. How can philosophers and psychologists most fruitfully collaborate?
The past 25 years have witnessed an increasing awareness of the importance of cognitive control in the regulation of complex behavior. It now sits alongside attention, memory, language, and thinking as a distinct domain within cognitive psychology. At the same time it permeates each of these sibling domains. This introduction reviews recent work on cognitive control in an attempt to provide a context for the fundamental question addressed within this topic: Is cognitive control to be understood (...) as resulting from the interaction of multiple distinct control processes, or are the phenomena of cognitive control emergent? (shrink)
We discuss the development of cognitive neuroscience in terms of the tension between the greater sophistication in cognitive concepts and methods of the cognitive sciences and the increasing power of more standard biological approaches to understanding brain structure and function. There have been major technological developments in brain imaging and advances in simulation, but there have also been shifts in emphasis, with topics such as thinking, consciousness, and social cognition becoming fashionable within the brain sciences. The discipline (...) has great promise in terms of applications to mental health and education, provided it does not abandon the cognitive perspective and succumb to reductionism. (shrink)
Recent theories in cognitive science have begun to focus on the active role of organisms in shaping their own environment, and the role of these environmental resources for cognition. Approaches such as situated, embedded, ecological, distributed and particularly extended cognition look beyond ‘what is inside your head’ to the old Gibsonian question of ‘what your head is inside of’ and with which it forms a wider whole—its internal and external cognitive niche. Since these views have been treated as (...) a radical departure from the received view of cognition, their proponents have looked for support to similar extended views within (the philosophy of) biology, most notably the theory of niche construction. This paper argues that there is an even closer and more fruitful parallel with developmental systems theory and developmental niche construction. These ask not ‘what is inside the genes you inherited’, but ‘what the inherited genes are inside of’ and with which they form a wider whole—their internal and external ontogenetic niche, understood as the set of epigenetic, social, ecological, epistemic and symbolic legacies inherited by the organism as necessary developmental resources. To the cognizing agent, the epistemic niche presents itself not just as a partially self-engineered selective niche, as the niche construction paradigm will have it, but even more so as a partially self-engineered ontogenetic niche, a problem-solving resource and scaffold for individual development and learning. This move should be beneficial for coming to grips with our own (including cognitive) nature: what is most distinctive about humans is their developmentally plastic brains immersed into a well-engineered, cumulatively constructed cognitive–developmental niche. (shrink)
There is much good work for philosophers to do in cognitive science if they adopt the constructive attitude that prevails in science, work toward testable hypotheses, and take on the task of clarifying the relationship between the scientiﬁc concepts and the everyday concepts with which we conduct our moral lives.
Allen Newell (1973) once observed that psychology researchers were playing “twenty questions with nature,” carving up human cognition into hundreds of individual phenomena but shying away from the difficult task of integrating these phenomena with unifying theories. We argue that research on cognitive control has followed a similar path, and that the best approach toward unifying theories of cognitive control is that proposed by Newell, namely developing theories in computational cognitive architectures. Threaded cognition, a recent theory developed (...) within the ACT-R cognitive architecture, offers promise as a unifying theory of cognitive control that addresses multitasking phenomena for both laboratory and applied task domains. (shrink)
Theories concerning the structure, or format, of mental representation should (1) be formulated in mechanistic, rather than metaphorical terms; (2) do justice to several philosophical intuitions about mental representation; and (3) explain the human capacity to predict the consequences of worldly alterations (i.e., to think before we act). The hypothesis that thinking involves the application of syntax-sensitive inference rules to syntactically structured mental representations has been said to satisfy all three conditions. An alternative hypothesis is that thinking requires the construction (...) and manipulation of the cognitive equivalent of scale models. A reading of this hypothesis is provided that satisfies condition (1) and which, even though it may not fully satisfy condition (2), turns out (in light of the frame problem) to be the only known way to satisfy condition (3). (shrink)
Cognitive architectures are unified theories of cognition that take the form of computational formalisms. They support computational models that collectively account for large numbers of empirical regularities using small numbers of computational mechanisms. Empirical coverage and parsimony are the most prominent criteria by which architectures are designed and evaluated, but they are not the only ones. This paper considers three additional criteria that have been comparatively undertheorized. (a) Successful architectures possess subjective and intersubjective meaning, making cognition comprehensible to individual (...)cognitive scientists and organizing groups of like-minded cognitive scientists into genuine communities. (b) Successful architectures provide idioms that structure the design and interpretation of computational models. (c) Successful architectures are strange: They make provocative, often disturbing, and ultimately compelling claims about human information processing that demand evaluation. (shrink)
Understanding the role of ‘‘representations’’ in cognitive science is a fundamental problem facing the emerging framework of embodied, situated, dynamical cognition. To make progress, I follow the approach proposed by an influential representational skeptic, Randall Beer: building artificial agents capable of minimally cognitive behaviors and assessing whether their internal states can be considered to involve representations. Hence, I operationalize the concept of representing as ‘‘standing in,’’ and I look for representations in embodied agents involved in simple categorization tasks. (...) In a first experiment, no representation can be found, but the relevance of the task is undermined by the fact that agents with no internal states can reach high performance. A simple modification makes the task more “representationally hungry,” and in this case, agents’ internal states are found to qualify as representations. I conclude by discussing the benefits of reconciling the embodied-dynamical approach with the notion of representation. (shrink)
One of the central issues in linguistics is whether or not language should be considered a self-contained, autonomous formal system, essentially reducible to the syntactic algorithms of meaning construction (as Chomskyan grammar would have it), or a holistic-functional system serving the means of expressing pre-organized intentional contents and thus accessible with respect to features and structures pertaining to other cognitive subsystems or to human experience as such (as Cognitive Linguistics would have it). The latter claim depends critically on (...) the existence of principles governing the composition of semantic contents. Husserl''s fourth Logical Investigation is well known as a genuine precursor for Chomskyan grammar. However, I will establish the heterogeneous character of the Investigation and show that the whole first part of it is devoted to the exposition of a semantic combinatorial system cognate to the one elaborated within Cognitive Linguistics. I will thus show how theoretical results in linguistics may serve to corroborate and shed light on those parts of Husserl''s Fourth Investigation that have traditionally been dismissed as vague or simply ignored. (shrink)
Within the Givenness Hierarchy framework of Gundel, Hedberg, and Zacharski (1993), lexical items included in referring forms are assumed to conventionally encode two kinds of information: conceptual information about the speaker’s intended referent and procedural information about the assumed cognitive status of that referent in the mind of the addressee, the latter encoded by various determiners and pronouns. This article focuses on effects of underspecification of cognitive status, establishing that, although salience and accessibility play an important role in (...) reference processing, the Givenness Hierarchy itself is not a hierarchy of degrees of salience/accessibility, contrary to what has often been assumed. We thus show that the framework is able to account for a number of experimental results in the literature without making additional assumptions about form-specific constraints associated with different referring forms. (shrink)
Cognitive control refers to the regulation of mental activity to support flexible cognition across different domains. Cragg and Nation (2010) propose that the development of cognitive control in children parallels the development of language abilities, particularly inner speech. We suggest that children’s late development of cognitive control also mirrors their limited ability to revise misinterpretations of sentence meaning. Moreover, we argue that for certain tasks, a tradeoff between bottom-up (data-driven) and top-down (rule-based) thinking may actually benefit performance (...) in both children and adults. Specifically, we propose that a lack of cognitive control may promote important aspects of cognitive development, like language acquisition and creativity. (shrink)
Cognitive control is not only componential, but those components may interact in complicated ways in the service of cognitive control tasks. This complexity poses a challenge for developing an ontological description, because the mapping may not be direct between our task descriptions and true component differences reflected in indicators. To illustrate this point, I discuss two examples: (a) the relationship between adaptive gating and working memory and (b) the recent evidence for a control hierarchy. From these examples, I (...) argue that an ontological program must simultaneously seek to identify component processes and their interactions within a broader processing architecture. (shrink)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a core area of Cognitive Science, yet today few AI researchers attend the Cognitive Science Society meetings. This essay examines why, how AI has changed over the last 30 years, and some emerging areas of potential interest where AI and the Society can go together in the next 30 years, if they choose.
Cognitive control is easy to identify in its effects, but difficult to grasp conceptually. This creates somewhat of a puzzle: Is cognitive control a bona fide process or an epiphenomenon that merely exists in the mind of the observer? The topiCS special edition on cognitive control presents a broad set of perspectives on this issue and helps to clarify central conceptual and empirical challenges confronting the field. Our commentary provides a summary of and critical response to each (...) of the papers. (shrink)
Contrary to common views that philosophy is extraneous to cognitive science, this paper argues that philosophy has a crucial role to play in cognitive science with respect to generality and normativity. General questions include the nature of theories and explanations, the role of computer simulation in cognitive theorizing, and the relations among the different ﬁelds of cognitive science. Normative questions include whether human thinking should be Bayesian, whether decision making should maximize expected utility, and how norms (...) should be established. These kinds of general and normative questions make philosophical reﬂection an important part of progress in cognitive science. Philosophy operates best, however, not with a priori reasoning or conceptual analysis, but rather with empirically informed reﬂection on a wide range of ﬁndings in cognitive science. (shrink)
Cognitive architectures are theories of cognition that try to capture the essential representations and mechanisms that underlie cognition. Research in cognitive architectures has gradually moved from a focus on the functional capabilities of architectures to the ability to model the details of human behavior, and, more recently, brain activity. Although there are many different architectures, they share many identical or similar mechanisms, permitting possible future convergence. In judging the quality of a particular cognitive model, it is pertinent (...) to not just judge its fit to the experimental data but also its simplicity and ability to make predictions. (shrink)
Music can be described as sequences of events that are structured in pitch and time. Studying music processing provides insight into how complex event sequences are learned, perceived, and represented by the brain. Given the temporal nature of sound, expectations, structural integration, and cognitive sequencing are central in music perception (i.e., which sounds are most likely to come next and at what moment should they occur?). This paper focuses on similarities in music and language cognition research, showing that music (...) cognition research provides insight into the understanding of not only music processing but also language processing and the processing of other structured stimuli. The hypothesis of shared resources between music and language processing and of domain-general dynamic attention has motivated the development of research to test music as a means to stimulate sensory, cognitive, and motor processes. (shrink)
Diagrams are a form of spatial representation that supports reasoning and problem solving. Even when diagrams are external, not to mention when there are no external representations, problem solving often calls for internal representations, that is, representations in cognition, of diagrammatic elements and internal perceptions on them. General cognitive architectures—Soar and ACT-R, to name the most prominent—do not have representations and operations to support diagrammatic reasoning. In this article, we examine some requirements for such internal representations and processes in (...)cognitive architectures. We discuss the degree to which DRS, our earlier proposal for such an internal representation for diagrams, meets these requirements. In DRS, the diagrams are not raw images, but a composition of objects that can be individuated and thus symbolized, while, unlike traditional symbols, the referent of the symbol is an object that retains its perceptual essence, namely, its spatiality. This duality provides a way to resolve what anti-imagists thought was a contradiction in mental imagery: the compositionality of mental images that seemed to be unique to symbol systems, and their support of a perceptual experience of images and some types of perception on them. We briefly review the use of DRS to augment Soar and ACT-R with a diagrammatic representation component. We identify issues for further research. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question whether we can conceive of music cognition in ecosemiotic terms. It claims that music knowledge must be generated as a tool for adaptation to the sonic world and calls forth a shift from a structural description of music as an artifact to a process-like approach to dealing with music. As listeners, we are observers who construct and organize our knowledge and bring with us our observational tools. What matters is not merely the sonic world in (...) its objective qualities, but the world as perceived. In order to make these claims operational we can rely on the ecological concept of coping with the sonic world and the cybernetic concepts of artificial and adaptive devices. Listeners, on this view, are able to change their semantic relations with the sonic world through functional adaptations at the level of sensing, acting and coordinating between action and perception. This allows us to understand music in functional terms of what it affords to us and not merely in terms of its acoustic qualities. There are, however, degrees of freedom and constraints which shape the semiotization of the sonic world. As such we must consider the role of event perception and cognitive economy: listeners do not perceive the acoustical environment in terms of phenomenological descriptions but as ecological events. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitive science (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility between (...) (1) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
Cognitive anthropology contributes to cognitive science as a complement to cognitive psychology. The chief threat to its survival has not been rejection by other cognitive scientists but by other cultural anthropologists. It will remain a part of cognitive science as long as cognitive anthropologists research, teach, and publish.