Augmenting Cognitive Architectures to Support Diagrammatic Imagination
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Topics in Cognitive Science
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 760–777, October 2011
How to Cite
Chandrasekaran, B., Banerjee, B., Kurup, U. and Lele, O. (2011), Augmenting Cognitive Architectures to Support Diagrammatic Imagination. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3: 760–777. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2011.01156.x
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 4 AUG 2011
- Received 16 January 2010; received in revised form 4 February 2011; accepted 17 February 2011
- Diagrammatic representation;
- Diagrammatic reasoning;
- Mental imagery;
- Cognitive architecture;
- Visual memory
Diagrams are a form of spatial representation that supports reasoning and problem solving. Even when diagrams are external, not to mention when there are no external representations, problem solving often calls for internal representations, that is, representations in cognition, of diagrammatic elements and internal perceptions on them. General cognitive architectures—Soar and ACT-R, to name the most prominent—do not have representations and operations to support diagrammatic reasoning. In this article, we examine some requirements for such internal representations and processes in cognitive architectures. We discuss the degree to which DRS, our earlier proposal for such an internal representation for diagrams, meets these requirements. In DRS, the diagrams are not raw images, but a composition of objects that can be individuated and thus symbolized, while, unlike traditional symbols, the referent of the symbol is an object that retains its perceptual essence, namely, its spatiality. This duality provides a way to resolve what anti-imagists thought was a contradiction in mental imagery: the compositionality of mental images that seemed to be unique to symbol systems, and their support of a perceptual experience of images and some types of perception on them. We briefly review the use of DRS to augment Soar and ACT-R with a diagrammatic representation component. We identify issues for further research.