Unified Theories of Cognition
Unified Theories of Cognition is a 1990 book by Allen Newell. Newell argues for the need of a set of general assumptions for cognitive models that account for all of cognition: a unified theory of cognition, or cognitive architecture.
- Problem solving, decision making, routine action
- Memory, learning, skill
- Perception, motor behavior
- Motivation, emotion
- Imagining, dreaming, daydreaming
After arguing in favor of the development of unified theories of cognition, Newell puts forward a list of constraints to any unified theory, in that a theory should explain how a mind does the following:
- Behave flexibly as a function of the environment
- Exhibit adaptive (rational, goal-oriented) behavior
- Operate in real time
- Operate in a rich, complex, detailed environment (Perceive an immense amount of changing detail; use vast amounts of knowledge; and control a motor system of many degrees of freedom)
- Use symbols and abstractions
- Use language, both natural and artificial
- Learn from the environment and from experience
- Acquire capabilities through development
- Operate autonomously, but within a social community
- Be self-aware and have a sense of self
- Be realizable as a neural system
- Be construable by an embryological growth process
- Arise through evolution
Newell's secondary task is to put forward the cognitive architecture Soar as an implementation of a UTC that meets the constraints above. Other efforts at unified theories of cognition cited in the book include ACT-R and the human processor model.
- Newell, A. (1994).Unified Theories of Cognition, Harvard University Press; Reprint edition, ISBN 0-674-92101-1.
- Newell, A. (1973). "You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win: Projective comments on the papers of this symposium". In W. G. Chase (ed.), Visual Information Processing. New York: Academic Press. (Read article online.)
- Newell, Allen. 1990. Unified Theories of Cognition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.