The Architecture of Cognition

The Architecture of Cognition

The Architecture of Cognition

The Architecture of Cognition

Synopsis

Now available in paper, The Architecture of Cognition is a classic work that remains relevant to theory and research in cognitive science. The new version of Anderson's theory of cognitive architecture -- Adaptive Control of Thought (ACT• ) -- is a theory of the basic principles of operation built into the cognitive system and is the main focus of the book.

Excerpt

In the mid 1960s, when I was an undergraduate, three of the active areas of research in psychology were learning theory, psycholinguistics, and cognitive psychology. At that time there was no coherent connection among the three, but the question of how language could be acquired and integrated with the rest of cognition seemed interesting. However, there was no obvious way to tackle the question because the field just did not have the relevant concepts. There were the options of pursuing a graduate career in learning theory, cognitive psychology, or psycholinguistics. I chose cognitive psychology and I believe I chose wisely (or luckily).

When I went to Stanford in 1968, Gordon Bower assigned me a hot issue of the time: to understand the categorical structure in free recall. As we analyzed free recall it became clear that we needed a complete model of the structure of human memory, with a particular focus on meaningful structure. Bower and I worked on this for a number of years, first developing the model FRAN (Anderson, 1972), then HAM (Anderson and Bower, 1973). Through this work we came to appreciate the essential role of computer simulation in developing complex models of cognition. HAM, the major product of that effort, was a complete model of the structures and processes of human memory, having as its central construct a propositional network representation. It successfully addressed a great deal of the memory literature, including a fair number of experiments on sentence memory that we performed explicitly to test it.

Critical to predicting a particular experimental phenomenon was deciding how to represent the experimental material in our system. Usually our intuitions about representation did lead to correct predictions, but that was not a very satisfactory basis for . . .

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