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ERIC Number: EJ865275
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 101
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Dynamics of Representational Change: Entropy, Action, and Cognition
Stephen, Damian G.; Dixon, James A.; Isenhower, Robert W.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v35 n6 p1811-1832 Dec 2009
Explaining how the cognitive system can create new structures has been a major challenge for cognitive science. Self-organization from the theory of nonlinear dynamics offers an account of this remarkable phenomenon. Two studies provide an initial test of the hypothesis that the emergence of new cognitive structure follows the same universal principles as emergence in other domains (e.g., fluids, lasers). In both studies, participants initially solved gear-system problems by manually tracing the force across a system of gears. Subsequently, they discovered that the gears form an alternating sequence, thereby demonstrating a new cognitive structure. In both studies, dynamical analyses of action during problem solving predicted the spontaneous emergence of the new cognitive structure. Study 1 showed that a peak in entropy, followed by negentropy, key indicators of self-organization, predicted discovery of alternation. Study 2 replicated these effects, and showed that increasing environmental entropy accelerated discovery, a classic prediction from dynamics. Additional analyses based on the relationship between phase transitions and power-law behavior provide converging evidence. The studies provide an initial demonstration of the emergence of cognitive structure through self-organization. (Contains 8 footnotes, 1 table, and 12 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A