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The current status of the simulation theory of cognition

Hesslow, Germund LU (2012) In Brain Research 1428(Online 27 June 2011). p.71-79
Abstract
It is proposed that thinking is simulated interaction with the environment. Three assumptions underlie this ‘simulation’ theory of cognitive function. Firstly, behaviour can be simulated in the sense that we can activate motor structures, as during a normal overt action, but suppress its execution. Secondly, perception can be simulated by internal activation of sensory cortex in a way that resembles its normal activation during perception of external stimuli. The third assumption (‘anticipation’) is that both overt and simulated actions can elicit perceptual simulation of their most probable consequences. A large body of evidence, mainly from neuroimaging studies, that supports these assumptions, is reviewed briefly. The theory is... (More)
It is proposed that thinking is simulated interaction with the environment. Three assumptions underlie this ‘simulation’ theory of cognitive function. Firstly, behaviour can be simulated in the sense that we can activate motor structures, as during a normal overt action, but suppress its execution. Secondly, perception can be simulated by internal activation of sensory cortex in a way that resembles its normal activation during perception of external stimuli. The third assumption (‘anticipation’) is that both overt and simulated actions can elicit perceptual simulation of their most probable consequences. A large body of evidence, mainly from neuroimaging studies, that supports these assumptions, is reviewed briefly. The theory is ontologically parsimonious and does not rely on standard cognitivist constructs such as internal models or representations. It is argued that the simulation approach can explain the relations between motor, sensory and cognitive functions and the appearance of an inner world. It also unifies and explains important features of a wide variety of cognitive phenomena such as memory and cognitive maps. Novel findings from recent developments in memory research on the similarity of imaging and memory and on the role of both prefrontal cortex and sensory cortex in declarative memory and working memory are predicted by the theory and provide striking support for it. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Simulation, Anticipation, Thought, Consciousness, Cognition, Memory
in
Brain Research
volume
1428
issue
Online 27 June 2011
pages
71 - 79
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • WOS:000300211200009
  • Scopus:84855896582
ISSN
1872-6240
DOI
10.1016/j.brainres.2011.06.026
project
Cognition, Communication and Learning
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
99dcfa68-848d-4cb2-8489-e94087a561e1 (old id 1976667)
date added to LUP
2011-11-02 13:54:49
date last changed
2017-03-12 03:08:53
@article{99dcfa68-848d-4cb2-8489-e94087a561e1,
  abstract     = {It is proposed that thinking is simulated interaction with the environment. Three assumptions underlie this ‘simulation’ theory of cognitive function. Firstly, behaviour can be simulated in the sense that we can activate motor structures, as during a normal overt action, but suppress its execution. Secondly, perception can be simulated by internal activation of sensory cortex in a way that resembles its normal activation during perception of external stimuli. The third assumption (‘anticipation’) is that both overt and simulated actions can elicit perceptual simulation of their most probable consequences. A large body of evidence, mainly from neuroimaging studies, that supports these assumptions, is reviewed briefly. The theory is ontologically parsimonious and does not rely on standard cognitivist constructs such as internal models or representations. It is argued that the simulation approach can explain the relations between motor, sensory and cognitive functions and the appearance of an inner world. It also unifies and explains important features of a wide variety of cognitive phenomena such as memory and cognitive maps. Novel findings from recent developments in memory research on the similarity of imaging and memory and on the role of both prefrontal cortex and sensory cortex in declarative memory and working memory are predicted by the theory and provide striking support for it.},
  author       = {Hesslow, Germund},
  issn         = {1872-6240},
  keyword      = {Simulation,Anticipation,Thought,Consciousness,Cognition,Memory},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {Online 27 June 2011},
  pages        = {71--79},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Brain Research},
  title        = {The current status of the simulation theory of cognition},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2011.06.026},
  volume       = {1428},
  year         = {2012},
}