The Recommendation Architecture: Relating Cognition to Physiology

  • L. Andrew Coward


A definition of the scope of a scientific theory of human cognition is proposed in which for any psychological state a corresponding physiological state can be identified, and causal relationships between psychological states have corresponding causal relationships between physiological states. The vital role of a simple functional architecture in functionally complex commercial electronic systems is described, and it is argued that selection pressures have resulted in simple functional architectures in biological brains. However, the functional architecture is qualitatively different from the architectures in electronic systems. Electronic systems have the instruction architecture in which functional components exchange unambiguous information. The only alternative is the recommendation architecture in which functional components exchange ambiguous information. Systems with the recommendation architecture demonstrate phenomena with a striking similarity to psychological experiences such as learning, object recognition, associative memory, dream sleep without recall, constant sensory independent sequences of mental images, and individual differences between the experience of the same conditions. All of these phenomena can be described in a consistent fashion on both psychological and physiological levels. It is therefore argued that biological brains have the recommendation architecture, and that this architecture makes possible a scientific theory of cognition. The nature of representation in such an architecture is discussed.


Mental Image Functional Component Causal Connection Functional Architecture Psychological Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Andrew Coward
    • 1
  1. 1.Nortel NetworksCanada

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