Processes Versus Representations: Cognitive Control as Emergent, Yet Componential

Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):247-252 (2011)
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Abstract

In this commentary, I focus on the difference between processes and representations and how this distinction relates to the question of what is controlled. Despite some views that task switching is a prototypical control process, the analysis concludes that task switching depends on the task goal representation and that control processes are there to prevent goal representations from disintegrating. Over time, these processes become obsolete, leaving behind a representation that automatically controls task performance. The distinction between processes and representations relates to practice effects and automaticity and sheds light on what is meant by the phrase “automatic control.”

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