There are several underlying problems with cognition which are different from what most expect.
The primary issue is due to perception where too much emphasis is attributes to the human senses (primarily sight and sound) – which as I’ve mentioned before – are just inputs. As you’ll know from physics – you’ll often see simple patterns repeated in many different fields – it’s unlikely that cognitive processes will be any different when dealing with sound/sight and thought.
The next issue is that many fall foul of attempting to describe the system in terms they can understand – a natural approach but essentially it boils down to the pushing of grammar parsers and hand lexers with too much forward weighting to identify external grammar (essentially pre-weighting the lexers with formal grammar). An approach that can produce interesting results but isn’t cognition and fails as an end game for achieving it. Essentially this is the approach used in current machine translation processes in it’s various forms.
The key fundamental issue is much simpler and related to issues around: pattern, reduction & relationship. An area that had some activity a while ago in various forms (cellular networks, etc) but fell to the wayside generally due to poor conceptual reference frameworks and the over-emphasis on modelling approaches used in nature (neural networks).
Now comes the time of definitions – a vehicle to ensure we’re on the same page 🙂
Cognitive processes thrive on them – and it’s one of the main drivers behind how it perceives, processes and responds to information. There’s a constant search to find similarities between what is perceived and what is known. It’s a fuzzy matching system that is rewarded, in the sense that it promotes change or adaptation, as much by differences as it is with finding similarities. When thinking about similarities – a handy term is to think about something being true or false. Don’t confuse true/false as the general definitions of the terms – it’s more about the sense of confidence. If something has a high confidence of being valid then it is true. The threshold of confidence is something that evolves and adapts within the cognition over time (essentially as a result of experience).
The development of patterns is both external (due to an external perception or input) and internal. To avoid turning this comment into something massive (and boring you 🙂 ) – think along the lines of the human cognitive process and the subconscious or dreams.
Reduction happens at several key stages – essentially it’s when a domain of experience breaches a threshold. It’s a way of reducing the processing required to a more automatic response. Think along the lines of short-circuit expressions. It’s a fundamental part of the cognitive process. From a human cognitive perspective you have probably seen it in your climbing and in your learning of the trumpet. We often express it as “having the knack” or “getting the hang” of something.
It’s important for 2 reasons: a) it means it has gained knowledge about a domain; b) it allows the cognitive process to further explore a domain. While Reduction is a desirable end-game – it is not The End from a cognitive process perspective. The meta information for this node of Reduction combines again and again with Pattern and Relationship allowing the process to reuse both the knowledge itself but more importantly the lessons learned when achieving reduction.
Relationship is really a meta process for drawing together apparently unrelated information into something that’s cohesive and is likely to either help with identifying patterns or for bringing about Reduction. Relationship at first looks very similar to Pattern but differs in it’s ability to ask itself “what if” and by being able to adjust things (facts, perception, knowledge, Pattern, Reduction and versions of these[versions are actually quite important]) to suit the avenue that it being explored. When expressed in human cognitive terms think of Relationship as the subconscious, dreams or the unfolding of events in thought. The unfolding of events is an example of versions. Essentially Relationship is a simulation that allows the testing of something.