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Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems$
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Wayne D. Gray

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189193

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189193.001.0001

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The Minimal Control Principle

The Minimal Control Principle

(p.368) 25 The Minimal Control Principle
Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems

Niels Taatgen

Oxford University Press

Control in cognitive models is usually fully internal and tied to a goal representation. To explain human flexibility and robustness in task performance, however, control should be shared between the goal (top-down control) and perceptual input (bottom-up control). According to the minimal control principle, top-down control should be minimized to obtain optimal flexibility with the smallest set of task knowledge. In cognitive models based on productions, the amount of control can be quantified by the number of control states needed. Support for the principle consists of an analysis that shows that the number of productions needed in a model increases linearly with the number of control states and by examining a number of examples of small and complex tasks in which minimal control leads to better models. This chapter discusses the minimal control principle and analyzes the interaction between learning and control and the consequences for the representation of instructions.

Keywords:   control, minimal control principle, cognitive models, top-down control, bottom-up control, flexibility, productions, control states, learning, instructions

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