In the first section of the article, we examine some recent criticisms of the connectionist enterprise: first, that connectionist models are fundamentally behaviorist in nature (and, therefore, non-cognitive), and second that connectionist models are fundamentally associationist in nature (and, therefore, cognitively weak). We argue that, for a limited class of connectionist models (feed-forward, pattern-associator models), the first criticism is unavoidable. With respect to the second criticism, we propose that connectionist modelsare fundamentally associationist but that this is appropriate for building models (...) of human cognition. However, we do accept the point that there are cognitive capacities for which any purely associative model cannot provide a satisfactory account. The implication that we draw from is this is not that associationist models and mechanisms should be scrapped, but rather that they should be enhanced.In the next section of the article, we identify a set of connectionist approaches which are characterized by “active symbols” — recurrent circuits which are the basis of knowledge representation. We claim that such approaches avoid criticisms of behaviorism and are, in principle, capable of supporting full cognition. In the final section of the article, we speculate at some length about what we believe would be the characteristics of a fully realized active symbol system. This includes both potential problems and possible solutions (for example, mechanisms needed to control activity in a complex recurrent network) as well as the promise of such systems (in particular, the emergence of knowledge structures which would constitute genuine internal models). (shrink)
Computational modeling has long been one of the traditional pillars of cognitive science. Unfortunately, the computer models of cognition being developed today have not kept up with the enormous changes that have taken place in computer technology and, especially, in human-computer interfaces. For all intents and purposes, modeling is still done today as it was 25, or even 35, years ago. Everyone still programs in his or her own favorite programming language, source code is rarely made available, accessibility of models (...) to non-programming researchers is essentially non-existent, and even for other modelers, the profusion of source code in a multitude of programming languages, written without programming guidelines, makes it almost impossible to access, check, explore, re-use, or continue to develop. It is high time to change this situation, especially since the tools are now readily available to do so. We propose that the modeling community adopt three simple guidelines that would ensure that computational models would be accessible to the broad range of researchers in cognitive science. We further emphasize the pivotal role that journal editors must play in making computational models accessible to readers of their journals. (shrink)
Implicit Learning and Consciousness challenges conventional wisdom and presents the most up-to-date studies to define, quantify and test the predictions of the main models of implicit learning. The chapters include a variety of research from computer modeling, experimental psychology and neural imaging to the clinical data resulting from work with amnesics. The result is a topical book that provides an overview of the debate on implicit learning, and the various philosophical, psychological and neurological frameworks in which it can be placed. (...) It will be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates and the philosophical, psychological and modeling research community. (shrink)
High-level perception--”the process of making sense of complex data at an abstract, conceptual level--”is fundamental to human cognition. Through high-level perception, chaotic environmen- tal stimuli are organized into the mental representations that are used throughout cognitive pro- cessing. Much work in traditional artificial intelligence has ignored the process of high-level perception, by starting with hand-coded representations. In this paper, we argue that this dis- missal of perceptual processes leads to distorted models of human cognition. We examine some existing artificial-intelligence models--”notably (...) BACON, a model of scientific discovery, and the Structure-Mapping Engine, a model of analogical thought--”and argue that these are flawed pre- cisely because they downplay the role of high-level perception. Further, we argue that perceptu- al processes cannot be separated from other cognitive processes even in principle, and therefore that traditional artificial-intelligence models cannot be defended by supposing the existence of a --œrepresentation module--� that supplies representations ready-made. Finally, we describe a model of high-level perception and analogical thought in which perceptual processing is integrated with analogical mapping, leading to the flexible build-up of representations appropriate to a given context. (shrink)
David Marr's three-level analysis of computational cognition argues for three distinct levels of cognitive information processing—namely, the computational, representational, and implementational levels. But Marr's levels are—and were meant to be—descriptive, rather than interactive and dynamic. For this reason, we suggest that, had Marr been writing today, he might well have gone even farther in his analysis, including the emergence of structure—in particular, explicit structure at the conceptual level—from lower levels, and the effect of explicit emergent structures on the level that (...) gave rise to them. The message is that today's cognitive scientists need not only to understand how emergent structures—in particular, explicit emergent structures at the cognitive level—develop but also to understand how they feed back on the sub-structures from which they emerged. (shrink)
No computer that had not experienced the world as we humans had could pass a rigorously administered standard Turing Test. We show that the use of “subcognitive” questions allows the standard Turing Test to indirectly probe the human subcognitive associative concept network built up over a lifetime of experience with the world. Not only can this probing reveal differences in cognitive abilities, but crucially, even differences in _physical aspects_ of the candidates can be detected. Consequently, it is unnecessary to propose (...) even harder versions of the Test in which all physical and behavioral aspects of the two candidates had to be indistinguishable before allowing the machine to pass the Test. Any machine that passed the “simpler” symbols- in/symbols-out test as originally proposed by Turing would be intelligent. The problem is that, even in its original form, the Turing Test is already too hard and too anthropocentric for any machine that was not a physical, social, and behavioral carbon copy of ourselves to actually pass it. Consequently, the Turing Test, even in its standard version, is not a reasonable test for general machine intelligence. There is no need for an even stronger version of the Test. (shrink)
While we agree that the frame problem, as initially stated by McCarthy and Hayes (1969), is a problem that arises because of the use of representations, we do not accept the anti-representationalist position that the way around the problem is to eliminate representations. We believe that internal representations of the external world are a necessary, perhaps even a defining feature, of higher cognition. We explore the notion of dynamically created context-dependent representations that emerge from a continual interaction between working memory, (...) external input, and long-term memory. We claim that only this kind of representation, necessary for higher cognitive abilities such as counterfactualization, will allow the combinatorial explosion inherent in the frame problem to be avoided. (shrink)
Relational priming is argued to be a deeply inadequate model of analogy-making because of its intrinsic inability to do analogies where the base and target domains share no common attributes and the mapped relations are different. Leech et al. rely on carefully handcrafted representations to allow their model to make a complex analogy, seemingly unaware of the debate on this issue fifteen years ago. Finally, they incorrectly assume the existence of fixed, context-independent relations between objects.
What new implications does the dynamical hypothesis have for cognitive science? The short answer is: None. The _Behavior and Brain Sciences _target article, “The dynamical hypothesis in cognitive science” by Tim Van Gelder is basically an attack on traditional symbolic AI and differs very little from prior connectionist criticisms of it. For the past ten years, the connectionist community has been well aware of the necessity of using (and understanding) dynamically evolving, recurrent network models of cognition.
Natura non facit saltum (Nature does not make leaps) was the lovely aphorism on which Darwin based his work on evolution. It applies as much to the formation of mental representations as to the formation of species, and therein lies our major disagreement with the SOC model proposed by Perruchet & Vinter.
Two categorization arguments pose particular problems for localist connectionist models. The internal representations of localist networks do not reflect the variability within categories in the environment, whereas networks with distributed internal representations do reflect this essential feature of categories. We provide a real biological example of perceptual categorization in the monkey that seems to require population coding (i.e., distributed internal representations).
This book is an excellent manifesto for future work in child development. It presents a multidisciplinary approach that clearly demonstrates the value of integrating modeling, neuroscience, and behavior to explore the mechanisms underlying development and to show how internal context-dependent representations arise and are modified during development. Its only major flaw is to have given short shrift to the study of the role of genetics on development.
Taking to heart Massaro's [(1988) Some criticisms of connectionist models of human performance, Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 213-234] criticism that multi-layer perceptrons are not appropriate for modeling human cognition because they are too powerful (i.e. they can simulate just about anything, which gives them little explanatory power), Regier develops the notion of constrained connectionism. The model that he discusses is a distributed network but with numerous constraints added that are (more or less) motivated by real psychophysical and neurophysical (...) constraints. His model learns static prepositions of spatial location such as in, above, to the left of, to the right of, under, etc., as well as dynamic prepositions such as through and the Russian iz-pod, meaning out from under. The network learns these prepositions by viewing a number of examples of them. Very importantly, this book tackles-and goes a long way towards resolving-the problem of the lack of negative exemplars (i.e. we are only very rarely told when something is not above something else), which should lead to overgeneralization, but does not. This book is a significant contribution to connectionist literature. (shrink)
Green's target article is an attack on most current connectionist models of cognition. Our commentary will suggest that there is an essential component missing in his discussion of modeling, namely, the idea that the appropriate level of the model needs to be specified. We will further suggest that the precise form of connectionist networks will fall out as ever more detailed constraints are placed on their function.
The fixed-feature viewpoint Schyns et al. are opposing is not a widely held theoretical position but rather a working assumption of cognitive psychologists – and thus a straw man. We accept their demonstration of new-feature acquisition, but question its ubiquity in category learning. We suggest that new-feature learning (at least in adults) is rarer and more difficult than the authors suggest.