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Keywords:

  • Intention;
  • Emotion;
  • Action;
  • Implementation intentions;
  • Automatic;
  • Deliberative;
  • Planning;
  • Neural engineering framework;
  • Semantic pointers

Abstract

We propose a unified theory of intentions as neural processes that integrate representations of states of affairs, actions, and emotional evaluation. We show how this theory provides answers to philosophical questions about the concept of intention, psychological questions about human behavior, computational questions about the relations between belief and action, and neuroscientific questions about how the brain produces actions. Our theory of intention ties together biologically plausible mechanisms for belief, planning, and motor control. The computational feasibility of these mechanisms is shown by a model that simulates psychologically important cases of intention.