Probability and Meaning: A Division in Behavioral Cognition Dividing Behavioral Science

  • Enno Schwanenberg
Conference paper
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


A critique of the role of cognition and affect in contemporary psychology. A theoretical model is proposed which brings affect and cognition in a common perspective of behavior regulation. The model conceives of affect in terms of the behavioral cognition of meaning. The model depicts two operational tests for the functional distinction between cognition and affect, in terms of the physical structures of the environment and the impact of these structures on the functioning organism. The two tests (cognitive mechanisms) operate according to opposite but conjunctive, complementary or integrative action according to the evolutionary design of the informational relationship between organism and environment. The probability test detects novelty (non-redundant features of the environment), while the meaning test secures redundancy equivalent to the mechanism of homeostasis. The implications of this model are briefly discussed.


Probability Test Behavior Regulation Informational Relationship Phenomenal World Contemporary Psychology 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

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  • Enno Schwanenberg

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