Robert Hecht-Nielsen
Computational Neurobiology, UC San Diego

Debate: "Waves or words in cortex?" -- Part 2: Confabulation Theory

Tuesday 06th of December 2005 at 04:00pm

Confabulation theory [1,2,3] posits that all aspects of cognition (seeing; hearing; movement and thought process control; planning; language; etc.) are based upon four key neuroanatomical elements. This talk overviews these four key elements and sketches the underlying mathematics of cognition (and argues why one simple, universal, ‘computation’ can implement every aspect of cognition). To provide additional insight, simple computer simulations of the theory’s neuroanatomical elements are used to apply it to three practical problems: adding a next word to an arbitrary string of English words, adding four words to a given three-word string of English that start a sentence – in the presence or absence of a previous sentence, and building a Conversational Machine. Confabulation theory seems to be the definitive answer to the question: “How does thinking work.” It also provides an answer to the question: “What causes behavior.” Finally, the talk will discuss that, in the framework of Confabulation Theory, many classical issues in neuroscience (such as the ‘binding problem’ and ‘exorcizing the homunculus’) simply disappear.

1. Hecht-Nielsen, R. Confabulation Theory Technical Report #0501, 27 September 2005, University of California, San Diego
Free download: http://crl.ucsd.edu/%7elpalacio/05.01.pdf
2. Hecht-Nielsen, R. Cogent confabulation. Neural Networks 18:111-115 (2005).
3. Hecht-Nielsen, R. Mechanization of Cognition
in: Biomimetics (ed. Bar-Cohen, Y.) 57–128 (CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2005.


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