The function of groups as information processors is increasingly being recognised in a number of theories of group cognition. A theme of many of these is an emphasis on sharing cognition. This paper extends current conceptualisations of groups by critiquing the focus on shared cognition and emphasising the distribution of cognition in groups. In particular, it develops an account of the distribution of one cognitive construct, mental models. Mental models have been chosen as a focus because they are used in (...) a number of theories of high level cognition from different areas of research such as cognitive science and human factors and so the implication of this development is wide reaching. This paper reviews the unconnected literatures on distributed cognition and mental models and integrates them in order to extend the theory of mental models to distributed cognitive systems such as groups. The distributed cognition literature is reviewed and the importance of considering the group as single cognitive system is adopted. A range of mental model theories are reviewed leading to the conclusion that they all have, in some form, the central feature of a mapping onto the cognitive system. Combining these two ideas, it is proposed that the model can be a mapping onto the whole group, if the information is distributed appropriately and the connections between parts of the model maintained through communication. This cognitive construct is referred to as a distributed mental model. Implications and applications of this theory are discussed. (shrink)
A novel explanation of belief bias in relational reasoning is presented based on the role of working memory and retrieval in deductive reasoning, and the influence of prior knowledge on this process. It is proposed that belief bias is caused by the believability of a conclusion in working memory which influences its activation level, determining its likelihood of retrieval and therefore its effect on the reasoning process. This theory explores two main influences of belief on the activation levels of these (...) conclusions. First, believable conclusions have higher activation levels and so are more likely to be recalled during the evaluation of reasoning problems than unbelievable conclusions, and therefore, they have a greater influence on the reasoning process. Secondly, prior beliefs about the conclusion have a base level of activation and may be retrieved when logically irrelevant, influencing the evaluation of the problem. The theory of activation and memory is derived from the Atomic Components of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) cognitive architecture and so this account is formalized in an ACT-R cognitive model. Two experiments were conducted to test predictions of this model. Experiment 1 tested strength of belief and Experiment 2 tested the impact of a concurrent working memory load. Both of these manipulations increased the main effect of belief overall and in particular raised belief-based responding in indeterminately invalid problems. These effects support the idea that the activation level of conclusions formed during reasoning influences belief bias. This theory adds to current explanations of belief bias by providing a detailed specification of the role of working memory and how it is influenced by prior knowledge. (shrink)
Cognitive modeling is the effort to understand the mind by implementing theories of the mind in computer code, producing measures comparable to human behavior and mental activity. The community of cognitive modelers has traditionally met twice every 3 years at the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. In this special issue of topiCS, we present the best papers from the ICCM meeting. These best papers represent advances in the state of the art in cognitive modeling. Since ICCM was for the first (...) time also held jointly with the Society for Mathematical Psychology, we use this preface to also reflect on the similarities and differences between mathematical psychology and cognitive modeling. (shrink)
In this issue of topiCS, we present the best papers from the ICCM meeting. These best papers represent advances in the state of the art in cognitive modeling. Since ICCM was for the first time also held jointly with the Society for Mathematical Psychology, we use this preface to also reflect on the similarities and differences between mathematical psychology and cognitive modeling.