Cognitive model

Cognitive model

A cognitive model is an approximation to animal cognitive processes (predominantly human) for the purposes of comprehension and prediction. Cognitive models can be developed within or without a cognitive architecture, though the two are not always easily distinguishable.

In contrast to cognitive architectures, cognitive models tend to be focused on a single cognitive phenomenon or process (e.g., list learning), how two or more processes interact (e.g., visual search and decision making), or to make behavioral predictions for a specific task or tool (e.g., how instituting a new software package will affect productivity). Cognitive architectures tend to be focused on the structural properties of the modeled system, and help constrain the development of cognitive models within the architecture. Likewise, model development helps to inform limitations and shortcomings of the architecture. Some of the most popular architectures for cognitive modeling include ACT-R and Soar.



Cognitive modeling historically developed within cognitive psychology/cognitive science (including human factors), and has received contributions from the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence to name a few.


There are many types of cognitive models, and they can range from box-and-arrow diagrams to a set of equations to software programs that interact with the same tools that humans use to complete tasks (e.g., computer mouse and keyboard).

Box-and-arrow models

Computational models

A computational model is a mathematical model in computational science that requires extensive computational resources to study the behavior of a complex system by computer simulation. The system under study is often a complex nonlinear system for which simple, intuitive analytical solutions are not readily available. Rather than deriving a mathematical analytical solution to the problem, experimentation with the model is done by changing the parameters of the system in the computer, and studying the differences in the outcome of the experiments. Theories of operation of the model can be derived/deduced from these computational experiments. Examples of common computational models are weather forecasting models, earth simulator models, flight simulator models, molecular protein folding models, and neural network models.


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``subsymbolic if it is made by constituent entities that are not representations in their turn, e.g., pixels, sound images as perceived by the ear, signal samples; subsymbolic units in neural networks can be considered particular cases of this category


Hybrid computers are computers that exhibit features of analog computers and digital computers. The digital component normally serves as the controller and provides logical operations, while the analog component normally serves as a solver ofdifferential equations.


Dynamicism, also termed the dynamic hypothesis or the dynamic hypothesis in cognitive science or dynamic cognition, is a new approach in cognitive science exemplified by the work of philosopher Tim van Gelder. It argues that differential equations are more suited to modelling cognition than more traditional computer models. Cf also dynamical systems theory.

See also

External links

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