Rethinking cognitive architecture: A heterarchical network of different types of information processors

William Bechtel


Abstract: Rather than seeking a common architecture for cognitive processing, this paper argues that we should recognize that the brain employs multiple information processing structures. Many of these are manifest in brain areas outside the neocortex such as the hypothalamus, brain stem pattern generators, the basal ganglia, and various nuclei releasing neuromodulators. Rather than employing one mode of information processing, the brain employs multiple modes integrated in a heterarchical network. These in turn affect processing within the neocortex and together with the neocortex regulate vertebrate behavior, including human. Cognitive science can better understand human information processing by attending to the plurality of information-processing architectures employed in the brain.

Keywords: Basal Ganglia; Cognitive Architectures; Heterarchical Networks; Hypothalamus; Pattern Generators; Neuromodulators


Ripensare l’architettura cognitiva: una rete eterarchica di differenti tipi di elaborazione di informazione

Riassunto: Anziché cercare un’architettura comune ai processi cognitivi, in questo lavoro si sosterrà che dovremmo riconoscere come il cervello impieghi molteplici strutture per processare l’informazione. Molte di loro si trovano nelle aree cerebrali esterne alla neocorteccia, come l’ipotalamo, i generatori di pattern del tronco encefalico, i gangli basali e i vari nuclei che rilasciano i neuromodulatori. Anziché impiegare un’unica modalità per l’elaborazione dell’informazione, il cervello usa molteplici modalità integrate in una rete eterarchica. Queste, a loro volta, influenzano i processi all’interno della neocorteccia e, assieme alla neocorteccia, regolano il comportamento dei vertebrati, compreso quello umano. La scienza cognitiva può meglio comprendere l’elaborazione dell’informazione da parte degli esseri umani concentrandosi sulla pluralità delle architetture impiegate nel cervello per realizzare questa elaborazione.

Parole chiave: Gangli basali; Architetture cognitive; Reti eterarchiche; Ipotalamo; Generatori di pattern; Neuromodulatori

Parole chiave

Basal Ganglia; Cognitive Architectures; Heterarchical Networks; Hypothalamus; Pattern Generators; Neuromodulators

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