The author makes several suggestions for how to control the direction taken by an active cognitive process. He proposes a neural/cognitive programming mechanism: traveling waves on cortex. Evidence for traveling waves exists, and interactions of such waves have useful properties. One example is due to Pitts and McCulloch: Why are squares of different sizes seen as examples of squares? If excitation propagates from the corners of a square, waves meet at the diagonals. Squares of different sizes then have a common diagonal representation. Later models include “grassfire models” and “medial axis” models. Experiments suggests that response exists at a “medial axis” halfway between bounding contours, and in this approach “Identity” and “Symmetry” become the same computation. Traveling waves in audition can be used to give the pattern-dependent frequency independent responses seen in some kinds of speech perception.
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