Cognitive architecture of perceptual organization: From neurons to gnosons
Number of pages
SourceCognitive Processing, 13, 1, (2012), pp. 13-40
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
What, if anything, is cognitive architecture and how is it implemented in neural architecture? Focusing on perceptual organization, this question is addressed by way of a pluralist approach which, supported by metatheoretical considerations, combines complementary insights from representational, connectionist, and dynamic systems approaches to cognition. This pluralist approach starts from a representationally inspired model which implements the intertwined but functionally distinguishable subprocesses of feedforward feature encoding, horizontal feature binding, and recurrent feature selection. As sustained by a review of neuroscientific evidence, these are the subprocesses that are believed to take place in the visual hierarchy in the brain. Furthermore, the model employs a special form of processing, called transparallel processing, whose neural signature is proposed to be gamma-band synchronization in transient horizontal neural assemblies. In neuroscience, such assemblies are believed to mediate binding of similar features. Their formal counterparts in the model are special input-dependent distributed representations, called hyperstrings, which allow many similar features to be processed in a transparallel fashion, that is, simultaneously as if only one feature were concerned. This form of processing does justice to both the high combinatorial capacity and the high speed of the perceptual organization process. A naturally following proposal is that those temporarily synchronized neural assemblies are "gnosons", that is, constituents of flexible self-organizing cognitive architecture in between the relatively rigid level of neurons and the still elusive level of consciousness.
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