Précis of thoughts on thought, 1st Edition by Earl Hunt

By Earl Hunt

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Several activation functions have been considered. The simplest is threshold activation, where the activation level of a node is one when its input exceeds a certain value, called the threshold of the node. In this case, the node is said to be active. Otherwise the activation level is zero and the node is inactive. In other cases node activation is computed by a squashing function, that maps the potentially unlimited value of the input into the zero–one interval. This allows the node to occupy a range of activated states.

One of the problems with schematic reasoning, though, is that schema are highly situation specific. This suggests that psychology should move toward anthropology, by cataloging the schema people have in different situations. Although this may be necessary, it is still a step away from the goal of developing a general theory about how people solve complex problems. Chapter 3/5Schema contains an extended discussion of schematic reasoning. Chapter 3/6Summary presents a summary of the ideas contained in this chapter.

Establishing the mapping between the program’s internal symbol manipulating structures and the characteristics of the external problem is called establishing a representation. GPS only deals with problems after the representation has been established. That is, the program looks at changes in attribute 1, attribute 2, and so forth, with no knowledge of what these variables are supposed to mean. Newell and Simon (1972) argued that the same restrictions apply to the mind. In terms of chap. 2 (but not in the researchers’ terms) they assumed that a “representation establishing module” establishes a problem’s mental representation, and that a general purpose symbol manipulation module operates on it.

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