Integrated Cognitive Models for Social Cognition

 

Integrated Cognitive Models for Social Cognition

Sage 4101

February 21, 2007 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

  • Abstract: The ability of the human person to predict and explain the behavior of others in mentalistic terms such as beliefs, desires and intentions is often called their theory of mind (ToM). ToM has been most notably explored in the developmental psychology community, where a multiplicity of questions concerning when these abilities emerge in children, and the mechanisms which could possibly embody them have arisen over the past thirty or so years. While various tentative answers have been advanced, these questions have not yielded under scrutiny due to terminological ambiguity, and disagreements over the validity of various experimental paradigms. We argue for the sufficiency of a formally specified, domain-general set of basic mechanisms called the "cognitive substrate" in explaining the onset of the ability of young children to predict and explain the behavior of other agents in terms of mental-state attributions. We assume that these domain-general cognitive substrate mechanisms are precisely those that are used to reason about primitive domains such as time, space, cause, possible worlds and identity which have been systematically implicated in higher-order cognition. We will minimally extend an existing computational implementation of the cognitive substrate that has already been used successfully to model infant physical reasoning in order to provide a parsimonious, domain-general explanation of ToM onset and usage across a variety of familiar developmental tasks while offering compelling explanations for clinical cases of impairment in ToM-driven inferences such as those seen in autistic patients. Finally, we discuss the practical benefits of computational modeling as it relates to discriminating between extant theoretical positions in literature.
  • Paper:Developmental Accounts of Theory-of-Mind Acquisition: Achieving Clarity via Computational Cognitive Modeling, Some Unifying Principles for Computational Models of Theory-of-Mind
  • Source: CogSci06, ICCM06
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