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Education Bookcast

Oct 11, 2022

I have recently discovered the field of cognitive architecture. I have been reading around the area for the last couple of months, and I would like to introduce it to my audience. It's an area of study with incredible achievements which revitalises my belief in psychology as a field, but which for some reason is not at all well known, even in education circles where it deserves to be known to all as the most impressive set of theories of cognition and learning ever produced.

I particularly focus on one theory known as ACT-R, though I have also been reading about other architectures such as Soar, LIDA, EPIC, and CLARION. I will be able to go into more detail about some of these in later episodes of the podcast.

For the moment, the biggest takeaway is what a cognitive architecture is and how impressive the achievements of the field have been so far. Cognitive architectures aim to describe human thinking and learning through analysing the mind into parts, and clearly specifying the role of each part and its interaction with other parts. It then makes predictions of how people would behave in a given situation based on these models - predictions that often achieve startling levels of accuracy, over a wide range of scenarios. The field is now mature enough that the architectures are routinely used by some psychologists to explain the results of their experiments, and the architectures are also used in technology as a basis for robot cognition or for computer game AI characters.

Enjoy the episode.



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