Robert P. Worden (1996) An Optimal Yardstick for Cognition . Psycoloquy: 7(01) Optimal Cognition (1)
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Psycoloquy 7(01): An Optimal Yardstick for Cognition

Target Article by Worden on Optimal-Cognition

Robert P. Worden
Logica UK Ltd
Betjeman House
104 Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK


Firstly, by analysing its biological function, I show that there is a best possible form of cognition, which gives greatest fitness. The results of this optimal cognition can be calculated in any domain -- such as foraging, navigation, vision, or conditioning. Secondly, internal representations and symbols emerge as a feature of near-optimal cognition. This gives a biological basis for cognitivism. Finally, we do not expect brains to evolve to the precise optimum. However, there are indications that animal cognition usually comes close to optimum efficiency, while today's cognitive models (such as neural nets or reinforcement learning models) have a wide range of efficiencies.


Bayes, conditioning, evolution, foraging, navigation, neural nets, optimality, representation, situated action.