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Human Cognition in the Human brain.

This site contains texts that I wrote about cognitive psychology, by which I mean the investigation of the way thinking (in its widest definition) is done. I started with a model of the way the human cognition is implemented, and then added texts discussing points that have arisen from various comments I got.

If you are not reallin into cognitive psychology, you can try few other bits.

All the texts in this site in a zip file (0.9Mb), Tar file (2Mb), Compressed tar file (1Mb)

The main point that distinguishes my model from other models is that I try to make it plausible neurobiologically. By 'neurobiologically' I mean the characteristics of neurons and their connectivities in the brain. As far as I can see, all the current models of human thinking ignore neurobiology, and more than that, they are neurobiologically implausible. The essential feature that most of these models ignore is the stochastic nature of the low-level connectivity of neurons. See brain symbols for a discussion showing that symbolic systems are implausible because of this reason. This text was first submitted for publication in Apr96. This paper got quite impressive reviews. The stochastic connectivity in the cortex is 'hidden' from the rest of the public by neuroscientists, and here are online examples. A short letter to neuroscientists calling them to advertise the stochastic connectivity of the cortex, which I tried unsuccessfully to publish.

Here are some other various bits about the CNS.

New methods, like PET and fMRI, open new avenues in investigation of the brain. However, currently the results are not replicable, and there is a strong tendency to overinterpret the results, and worse, to avoid any discussion of these overinterpretations. I am trying to publish a paper that shows the lack of replicability in PET and fMRI. There is also A general discussion of cognitive brain imaging here, and here is an example of what happens when you try to challenge these overinterpretations.

While ignoring neurobiology, cognitive psychologists use other evidence to support their models. In Reasoning Errors I list the typical reasoning errors that they make when trying to support their models. I believe that currently there is no model that is free from these reasoning errors, so if you think you know a good model of thinking, you are invited to check it against this list. In addition, I am writing a list of the myths and misconceptions that are common in cognitive psychology.

MIT put online an Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (MITECS) [ 17 Jul 2010 it is not online anymore, so this is less useful now]. I am writing comments on MITECS, to show where the current consensus is wrong. The advantage of this is that you can read both of the source and the comments together.

The most frequent criticism that I got about 'brain symbols' is that the models that it criticizes are 'computational', and therefore do not need to be implementable. This is based on Marr's ideas, as expressed in his book Vision, though in somewhat distorted way. As a result, I wrote a Critique of Vision by Marr, which, if you find Marr's ideas useful, is guaranteed to raise your blood pressure.

An important question is why do the nonsense arguments that are based on these reasoning errors, myths and misconceptions are effective in convincing people. The Irrefutability of Nonsense-Arguments and the Blatant Nonsense Effect go some way to explain it. Probably a larger factor is the fundamental methodological errors in the way cognitive scientists approach the question of cognition.

Computer models form large portion of cognitive models. In Computer models of cognition I argue that these models are not as useful as they are supposed to be. I wrote this text because some people say they want to see comparison between the performance for my model and other computer models.

The current research in Psycholinguistics (by which I refer to anybody that tries to learn about human thinking by learning about language) is the most outrageous heap of nonsense around. Some more extended comments are here. Chomsky worth a special mention. Did you know that Chomsky thinks that science is 'blind luck'? Evolutionary Psychology is not much better than Psycholinguistics.

The model itself is here. A list of the major hypotheses of the model, which maybe useful to navigate it can be found in Hypotheses.

The model text does not contain a reference list. In Cognitive Psychology Reading I explain why, and suggest how to go about learning more about cognitive psychology.

Comments are welcome, to yh@maldoo.com, even if only to say you found some of the texts here interesting. Please state which page(s) you have read. It would also be useful if you add some description of who you are and your ideas on the subject.

Here are the most negative messages I got about this site.


Some personal details:

I work in Lispworks Ltd., which produces a Common Lisp implementation and IDE.

I did a degree in chemistry in Cambridge University, UK. I also did some research in protein engineering, and publish several papers, but I lost interest. Part of this is because of the stupid way scientific articles are published currently.


Yehouda Harpaz