Automatic Generation of Cognitive Theories using Genetic Programming

Minds and Machines 17 (3):287-309 (2007)
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Abstract

Cognitive neuroscience is the branch of neuroscience that studies the neural mechanisms underpinning cognition and develops theories explaining them. Within cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience focuses on modeling behavior, using theories expressed as computer programs. Up to now, computational theories have been formulated by neuroscientists. In this paper, we present a new approach to theory development in neuroscience: the automatic generation and testing of cognitive theories using genetic programming (GP). Our approach evolves from experimental data cognitive theories that explain “the mental program” that subjects use to solve a specific task. As an example, we have focused on a typical neuroscience experiment, the delayed-match-to-sample (DMTS) task. The main goal of our approach is to develop a tool that neuroscientists can use to develop better cognitive theories

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