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Keywords:

  • Nonlinear dynamical systems;
  • Formal model;
  • 1/f noise

Abstract

After more than 15 years of study, the 1/f noise or complex-systems approach to cognitive science has delivered promises of progress, colorful verbiage, and statistical analyses of phenomena whose relevance for cognition remains unclear. What the complex-systems approach has arguably failed to deliver are concrete insights about how people perceive, think, decide, and act. Without formal models that implement the proposed abstract concepts, the complex-systems approach to cognitive science runs the danger of becoming a philosophical exercise in futility. The complex-systems approach can be informative and innovative, but only if it is implemented as a formal model that allows concrete prediction, falsification, and comparison against more traditional approaches.