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Title: Dynamic context discrimination : psychological evidence for the Sandia Cognitive Framework.

Abstract

Human behavior is a function of an iterative interaction between the stimulus environment and past experience. It is not simply a matter of the current stimulus environment activating the appropriate experience or rule from memory (e.g., if it is dark and I hear a strange noise outside, then I turn on the outside lights and investigate). Rather, it is a dynamic process that takes into account not only things one would generally do in a given situation, but things that have recently become known (e.g., there have recently been coyotes seen in the area and one is known to be rabid), as well as other immediate environmental characteristics (e.g., it is snowing outside, I know my dog is outside, I know the police are already outside, etc.). All of these factors combine to inform me of the most appropriate behavior for the situation. If it were the case that humans had a rule for every possible contingency, the amount of storage that would be required to enable us to fluidly deal with most situations we encounter would rapidly become biologically untenable. We can all deal with contingencies like the one above with fairly little effort, but if it isn't basedmore » on rules, what is it based on? The assertion of the Cognitive Systems program at Sandia for the past 5 years is that at the heart of this ability to effectively navigate the world is an ability to discriminate between different contexts (i.e., Dynamic Context Discrimination, or DCD). While this assertion in and of itself might not seem earthshaking, it is compelling that this ability and its components show up in a wide variety of paradigms across different subdisciplines in psychology. We begin by outlining, at a high functional level, the basic ideas of DCD. We then provide evidence from several different literatures and paradigms that support our assertion that DCD is a core aspect of cognitive functioning. Finally, we discuss DCD and the computational model that we have developed as an instantiation of DCD in more detail. Before commencing with our overview of DCD, we should note that DCD is not necessarily a theory in the classic sense. Rather, it is a description of cognitive functioning that seeks to unify highly similar findings across a wide variety of literatures. Further, we believe that such convergence warrants a central place in efforts to computationally emulate human cognition. That is, DCD is a general principle of cognition. It is also important to note that while we are drawing parallels across many literatures, these are functional parallels and are not necessarily structural ones. That is, we are not saying that the same neural pathways are involved in these phenomena. We are only saying that the different neural pathways that are responsible for the appearance of these various phenomena follow the same functional rules - the mechanisms are the same even if the physical parts are distinct. Furthermore, DCD is not a causal mechanism - it is an emergent property of the way the brain is constructed. DCD is the result of neurophysiology (cf. John, 2002, 2003). Finally, it is important to note that we are not proposing a generic learning mechanism such that one biological algorithm can account for all situation interpretation. Rather, we are pointing out that there are strikingly similar empirical results across a wide variety of disciplines that can be understood, in part, by similar cognitive processes. It is entirely possible, even assumed in some cases (i.e., primary language acquisition) that these more generic cognitive processes are complemented and constrained by various limits which may or may not be biological in nature (cf. Bates & Elman, 1996; Elman, in press).« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Laboratories
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
975242
Report Number(s):
SAND2004-4567
TRN: US201009%%439
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; ALGORITHMS; BRAIN; CONVERGENCE; COYOTES; FUNCTIONALS; LEARNING; STORAGE; Cognitive psychology.; Human information processing.; Human behavior.

Citation Formats

Speed, Ann Elizabeth. Dynamic context discrimination : psychological evidence for the Sandia Cognitive Framework.. United States: N. p., 2004. Web. doi:10.2172/975242.
Speed, Ann Elizabeth. Dynamic context discrimination : psychological evidence for the Sandia Cognitive Framework.. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/975242
Speed, Ann Elizabeth. Wed . "Dynamic context discrimination : psychological evidence for the Sandia Cognitive Framework.". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/975242. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/975242.
@article{osti_975242,
title = {Dynamic context discrimination : psychological evidence for the Sandia Cognitive Framework.},
author = {Speed, Ann Elizabeth},
abstractNote = {Human behavior is a function of an iterative interaction between the stimulus environment and past experience. It is not simply a matter of the current stimulus environment activating the appropriate experience or rule from memory (e.g., if it is dark and I hear a strange noise outside, then I turn on the outside lights and investigate). Rather, it is a dynamic process that takes into account not only things one would generally do in a given situation, but things that have recently become known (e.g., there have recently been coyotes seen in the area and one is known to be rabid), as well as other immediate environmental characteristics (e.g., it is snowing outside, I know my dog is outside, I know the police are already outside, etc.). All of these factors combine to inform me of the most appropriate behavior for the situation. If it were the case that humans had a rule for every possible contingency, the amount of storage that would be required to enable us to fluidly deal with most situations we encounter would rapidly become biologically untenable. We can all deal with contingencies like the one above with fairly little effort, but if it isn't based on rules, what is it based on? The assertion of the Cognitive Systems program at Sandia for the past 5 years is that at the heart of this ability to effectively navigate the world is an ability to discriminate between different contexts (i.e., Dynamic Context Discrimination, or DCD). While this assertion in and of itself might not seem earthshaking, it is compelling that this ability and its components show up in a wide variety of paradigms across different subdisciplines in psychology. We begin by outlining, at a high functional level, the basic ideas of DCD. We then provide evidence from several different literatures and paradigms that support our assertion that DCD is a core aspect of cognitive functioning. Finally, we discuss DCD and the computational model that we have developed as an instantiation of DCD in more detail. Before commencing with our overview of DCD, we should note that DCD is not necessarily a theory in the classic sense. Rather, it is a description of cognitive functioning that seeks to unify highly similar findings across a wide variety of literatures. Further, we believe that such convergence warrants a central place in efforts to computationally emulate human cognition. That is, DCD is a general principle of cognition. It is also important to note that while we are drawing parallels across many literatures, these are functional parallels and are not necessarily structural ones. That is, we are not saying that the same neural pathways are involved in these phenomena. We are only saying that the different neural pathways that are responsible for the appearance of these various phenomena follow the same functional rules - the mechanisms are the same even if the physical parts are distinct. Furthermore, DCD is not a causal mechanism - it is an emergent property of the way the brain is constructed. DCD is the result of neurophysiology (cf. John, 2002, 2003). Finally, it is important to note that we are not proposing a generic learning mechanism such that one biological algorithm can account for all situation interpretation. Rather, we are pointing out that there are strikingly similar empirical results across a wide variety of disciplines that can be understood, in part, by similar cognitive processes. It is entirely possible, even assumed in some cases (i.e., primary language acquisition) that these more generic cognitive processes are complemented and constrained by various limits which may or may not be biological in nature (cf. Bates & Elman, 1996; Elman, in press).},
doi = {10.2172/975242},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/975242}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2004},
month = {9}
}