Dissertation, Carleton University (2013)

David Pierre Leibovitz
Carleton University
The Emergic Cognitive Model (ECM) is a unified computational model of visual filling-in based on the Emergic Network architecture. The Emergic Network was designed to help realize systems undergoing continuous change. In this thesis, eight different filling-in phenomena are demonstrated under a regime of continuous eye movement (and under static eye conditions as well). ECM indirectly demonstrates the power of unification inherent with Emergic Networks when cognition is decomposed according to finer-grained functions supporting change. These can interact to raise additional emergent behaviours via cognitive re-use, hence the Emergic prefix throughout. Nevertheless, the model is robust and parameter free. Differential re-use occurs in the nature of model interaction with a particular testing paradigm. ECM has a novel decomposition due to the requirements of handling motion and of supporting unified modelling via finer functional grains. The breadth of phenomenal behaviour covered is largely to lend credence to our novel decomposition. The Emergic Network architecture is a hybrid between classical connectionism and classical computationalism that facilitates the construction of unified cognitive models. It helps cutting up of functionalism into finer-grains distributed over space (by harnessing massive recurrence) and over time (by harnessing continuous change), yet simplifies by using standard computer code to focus on the interaction of information flows. Thus while the structure of the network looks neurocentric, the dynamics are best understood in flowcentric terms. Surprisingly, dynamic system analysis (as usually understood) is not involved. An Emergic Network is engineered much like straightforward software or hardware systems that deal with continuously varying inputs. Ultimately, this thesis addresses the problem of reduction and induction over complex systems, and the Emergic Network architecture is merely a tool to assist in this epistemic endeavour. ECM is strictly a sensory model and apart from perception, yet it is informed by phenomenology. It addresses the attribution problem of how much of a phenomenon is best explained at a sensory level of analysis, rather than at a perceptual one. As the causal information flows are stable under eye movement, we hypothesize that they are the locus of consciousness, howsoever it is ultimately realized.
Keywords Unified cognitive modeling  Emergic Network architecture  Biological sciences  Applied sciences  Psychology  Visual filling-in
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References found in this work BETA

The Perception Of The Visual World.James J. Gibson - 1950 - Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness.J. Kevin O’Regan & Alva Noë - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917.
Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.

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