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u06d2 An Integrated Theory of the Mind

Anderson, Byrne, Douglas, Lebiere & Qin (2004), in their article, An Integrated Theory of the Mind, argue that there are two schools of thought about how the mind works: 1. The mind is made up of separate and specialized processing modules with each module serving a unique function and working independently frombut parallel tothe others. 2. The mind is made up of separate and specialized processing modules; however, the modules function in a consolidated and collaborative fashion to produce coherent thought. What are your thoughts on this debate? Is the mind a collection of distinct parts and functions, or is there an integrated theory of the mind? What evidence supports your point of view? Please answer the discussion question by (1) referring to and integrating ideas presented in the text and any supplemental readings; (2) citing outside resources if necessary to make your point; and (3) following APA style guidelines for citations and references. You will be evaluated on how well you can demonstrate that you understand the ideas presented throughout the unit, including assigned readings, discussions, and independent investigations. You will also be evaluated on the quality of your workits academic rigor, how well it shows your ability to think critically, and how completely it covers the questions asked. In recent years, researchers have sought to develop holistic, integrative models to represent declarative and procedural knowledge components of the mind to further examine and explain the integral and dynamic process of cognitive information processing. Producing theoretical models of the mind also practically assists neurocognitive researchers and clinicians in integrating data produced by brain imaging techniques for subsequent cognitive and neurological analysis. A substantive model of importance in this regard is ACT (adaptive control of thought) and the revision ACT-R (R - rational) (#1 above). This model uses computer information processing as a metaphor of understanding how the brain represents the cognitive core of procedural knowledge in the form of production systems and declarative knowledge as a semantic network (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). The basic architecture of ACT-R consists of modules (perceptual, goal, declarative, etc) designed to process various types of information in serial and parallel processing modes. Central processing of information and resultant coordinated action within this model is made available through a series of buffers. In both declarative and procedural activations, each subsystem detects units of knowledge called chunks in buffers to produce coherent cognition and behavior through an unlimited set of activated neural antecedents. The subsymbolic learning and performance mechanisms of declarative and procedural systems produce unique and appropriate contextual responses (Anderson et al., 2004).

However, serial processing in human cognition results in theoretically significant limitations upon the speed and span of neural activations involved in ACT-R cognitive processing. According to Anderson et al. (2004) there are two levels of serial congestion in the ACT-R model. The content of any buffer is limited to a single declarative unit of knowledge, called a chunk in ACT-R. Thus, according to this model only a single memory can be retrieved at a time In terms of procedural activations only a single production rule is selected with the highest utility. This inevitably slows the activation rate in the perception of complex stimulus as well as diminishing the memory span. Psychobiological and cognitive research indicates that the brain is distinctly different from computer information processing theory and has the ability to process asynchronously and in parallel with other neural substrate activations. Moreover, not all neural processing passes through the basal ganglia as proposed by the ACT-R model, but can directly connect with other cortical brain regions. Thus the only way to avoid serial congestion is to design a model that includes direct stimulus-response connections to enhance time sharing and the speed of cognitive neural processing. The parallel distributed processing model (PDP, #2 above) also called the connectionist model, postulates that neurons may be active, inactive or inhibited during information processing. Knowledge is represented in patterns of neural interconnections with varying levels of strength or inhibition as opposed to nodes of propositional information and concepts coordinated by a central processing unit in the ACT-R model. However, one of the general criticisms of this model is the assumption that neural networks consistently perform as connectionist motility (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012). However, both models are vulnerable to informational degradation or decay over the life span. Nairne (2002) suggests that short term retention of information is tied to activation level of neural activity which can be lost through a decay process as a direct function of time. Moreover, the slower the overt articulation rate, the lower the recorded memory spans. Therefore, activation is considered a fragile process which can be lost in the absence of rehearsal. Rehearsal can counteract the decay process and refresh activation strength much like a juggler who continues to apply force (e.g. attention) to defy gravity (decay) by continually tossing balls in the air. This author found both models to be insufficient in explaining the complex dynamics of cognitive information processing of the brain. Do neural networks function only in a connectionist motif and essentially personify mnemonic properties of knowledge or are they distinctive cues that excavate residual records like priming effects? Why cant models based upon computer operating systems and serial processing thoroughly explain the simultaneous activations of neural cognitive networks?

This author prefers the unitary model postulated by Nairne (2002) advocates that there is considerable overlap in the operations of long term and short term memory mechanisms through a constellation of cues in the retrieval process. These cues are essentially residual processing records (e.g. priming) that have become degraded through interference of subsequent information. This rapid cue driven process of recognition and recall in both short and long term memory is critically important in demonstrating reasoning and problem solving abilities. Therefore, available cues become predictors of target items to be identified. Anthony Rhodes General Psychology PhD. References Anderson, J. R., Bothell, D., Byrne, M. D., Douglass, S., Lebiere, C., & Qin, Y. (2004). An Integrated Theory of the Mind. Psychological Review, 111(4), 1036-1060. doi:10.1037/0033295X.111.4.1036 Nairne J. (2002). Remembering the short term: The Case Against the Standard Model. Annual Review Of Psychology [serial online]. February;53(1):53. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 12, 2012. Sternberg, R. J., & Sternberg, K. (2012). Cognitive psychology (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781133313915