Information Processing and Dynamics in Minimally Cognitive Agents



There has been considerable debate in the literature about the relative merits of information processing versus dynamical approaches to understanding cognitive processes. In this article, we explore the relationship between these two styles of explanation using a model agent evolved to solve a relational categorization task. Specifically, we separately analyze the operation of this agent using the mathematical tools of information theory and dynamical systems theory. Information-theoretic analysis reveals how task-relevant information flows through the system to be combined into a categorization decision. Dynamical analysis reveals the key geometrical and temporal interrelationships underlying the categorization decision. Finally, we propose a framework for directly relating these two different styles of explanation and discuss the possible implications of our analysis for some of the ongoing debates in cognitive science.