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N. Noori, L. Itti, Symbolic Simulation: a grounded mechanistic account for processing symbolic information, In: Proc. 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology (MathPsych 2011), Jul 2011.
Abstract: Cognition by means of abstract symbolic concepts in an algorithmic manner is one of the tenets of mathematical cognition. Identifying the relationship between this evo- lutionarily newly emerged symbolic machinery and rudimentary older modal systems has motivated numerous studies mostly focused on grounding representation of symbolic concepts (Barsalou 2008). However recent evidences emerging from neuroimaging and patient studies suggest that modal systems for visually guiding actions in space play a role in mental operations on symbolic information that is beyond representation of symbolic concepts (Koenigs M. et al 2009, Knops A. et al. 2009). Motivated by these findings we posit a grounded mechanistic model for algorithmic controlled information processing in human brain. We propose a critical role for a spatially organized short-term memory which is used for anchoring task relevant items into the space. These anchors are used for selective processing of the maintained infor- mation. Selective processing of information (such as deletion of item from memory) in turn is made possible through shifts in spatial attention towards registry location of the item of interest in the space. This registry system along with an articulatory system for hashing items into phonological codes, and a system for performing and monitoring sequential actions provide necessary mechanisms for employing overly-trained networks for processing limited set of activated items in arbitrary algorithms. We have evaluated our hypothesis by detecting process related traces of mental symbolic operations in both eye movements of human subjects and visuospatial short-term memory of objects in the environment.
Themes: Human Eye-Tracking Research, Human Psychophysics
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