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Perceptual Symbol Systems

This is a work in progress. I'm trying to illustrate the ideas of Lawrence Barsalou

Phil Marston

on 17 April 2010

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Transcript of Perceptual Symbol Systems

Perception Sensations cause patterns of neurons to fire Eyes Ears Nose Mouth Skin Senses Item Action Agent Individual Convergence
Zone? Long term memory contains Perceptual Symbols Short term memory (Associative patterns of neurons) PS1 PS2 PS3 Simulator Cognition Simulations runs simulators of instances Introspection is another sensation Frame? (or concept) Schematic components? Event As a feature system becomes active to represent an entity or event, conjunctive neurons in association areas capture the ativation pattern for later representational use. Populations of conjunctive neurons code the pattern, with each individual neuron participating in the coding of many different patterns (e.g. Damasio 1989; Simmons & Barsalou 2003). Locally, association areas near a modality capture activation patterns within it (e.g. visual association areas capture patterns of visual features). In turn, higher association areas in the temporal, parietal and frontal lobes integrate activations across modalities. When an entity or event is experienced, it activates feature detectors in the relevant neural systems. During visual processing of a bicycle, for example, neurons fire for edges and surfaces, whereas others fire for colour, configural properties and motion. The overall pattern of activation across this heirarchically organized distributed system represents the entity in vision. Analogous patterns of activation in other sensory modalities represent how the bicycle might sound and feel. Activations in the motor system represent actions on the bicycle. Activations in the amygdale and orbitofrontal areas represent affective reactions. Theoretically, a simulator functions as a concept or type in more traditional theories by integrating the multi-modal content of a category across instances, and by providing the ability to interpret individuals as tokens of the type (Barsalou 2003a). Simulators integrate information across a category's instances, whereas simulations are specific conceptualizations of the category. Olfaction Vision Audition Gustation Proprioception Introspection These patterns can act as referants to items or actions in the world (e.g. stand as symbols) and get buffered in short term memory. Perceptual Symbol Systems Perceptual symbols provide the basis for situated cognition. The mechanism for situated cognition is simulation.
Simulations impliment the concepts that underlie knowledge, using multimodal perceptions. Multi-modal Symbols vs Amodal Symbols Amodal symbols transduce perceptions into a representation language, believed necessary for cognition.
These symbols are arbitrary and amodal, bearing no correspondence to peception. Amodal systems were hypothesised and became popular during the 20th century, due to the belief that perceptual images could not explain the ability humans have for complex symbol manipulation. The problem with them is that there is no evidence for them and they can only provide a postdic explaination of cognition . Selective attention helps to store schematic representations of perceptions in long term meory.
The representations serve basic symbolic functions. Schematic representations can include things like orientation and speed. Because a perceptual symbol is an associative pattern of neurons, it's subsequent activation has dynamical properties. Different contexts may distort activations of the original pattern, as connection from contextual features bias activation. Thus a perceptual symbol neither rigid nor descrete. Perceptual symbols do not exist independently. Related symbols become organised in to a simulator. This allows cognition to construct specific simulations. A simulator contains (1) an underlaying frame that integrates perceptual symbols and (2) an infinite number of simulations taht can be constructed from the frame. After a lot of experience, a tremendous amount of multi-modal information (perceptions) is stored in a frame. According to this theory the primary goal of human learning is to establish simulators. A problem with abstraction (amodal symbols) is if they are learnt in and of themselves and are not refered back to experience they have no connections to relate back to experience and cannot be used to make experiencial references. using as a template
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