The Atoms of Cognition: Action Learning and Problem Solving


In a previous paper we showed that a set of representations, which we referred to as “atomic operational representations,” which are explicit spatiotemporal representations, can perform the function of grounding concepts of activities and interactions in the physical world. In this paper, to demonstrate how these operational representations can function in cognitive processes, we develop the basic ideas further by showing 1) how actions and their consequences can be observed and captured in operational representations; 2) how causal rules of actions can be learned and encoded in the form of operational representations through an unsupervised causal learning process; and 3) how the learned causal rules can be used in problem solving processes that produce desired action plans. We show that the same representations can be used across the various levels of cognitive processing in a unified manner. Experiments are proposed to test if the brain uses explicit temporal representations.

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