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How the Mind Comes into BeingIntroducing Cognitive Science from a Functional and Computational Perspective$
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Martin V. Butz and Esther F. Kutter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739692

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739692.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

Decision Making, Control, and Concept Formation

Decision Making, Control, and Concept Formation

(p.275) Chapter 12 Decision Making, Control, and Concept Formation
How the Mind Comes into Being

Martin V. Butz

Esther F. Kutter

Oxford University Press

While attention controls the internal, mental focus of attention, motor control directs the bodily control focus. Our nervous system is structured in a cascade of interactive control loops, where the primary self-stabilizing control loops can be found directly in the body’s morphology and the muscles themselves. The hierarchical structure enables flexible and selective motor control and the invocation of motor primitives and motor complexes. The learning of motor primitives and complexes again adheres to certain computational systematicities. Redundant behavioral alternatives are encoded in an abstract manner, enabling fast habitual decision making and slower, more elaborated planning processes for realizing context-dependent behavior adaptations. On a higher level, behavior can be segmented into events, during which a particular behavior unfolds, and event boundaries, which characterize the beginning or the end of a behavior. Combinations of events and event boundaries yield event schemata. Hierarchical combinations of event schemata on shorter and longer time scales yield event taxonomies. When developing event boundary detectors, our mind begins to develop environmental conceptualizations. Evidence is available that suggests that such event-oriented conceptualizations are inherently semantic and closely related to linguistic, generative models. Thus, by optimizing behavioral versatility and developing progressively more abstract codes of environmental interactions and manipulations, cognitive encodings develop, which are supporting symbol grounding and grammatical language development.

Keywords:   motor control, compositionality, muscles, spinal cord, motor cortex, redundancy problem, online motor control, decision making, motor primitives, forward-inverse models, goals, event, event segmentation, event boundaries, event-oriented conceptualizations, event schemata, abstractions, analogies and metaphors, goal-oriented concept compositions

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