[Graphic] Mental Architecture v1.2

Today’s post is a bit experimental. In addition to producing the next revision of my architecture diagram, I will indulge in autobiographical musings.  I suspect this will become useful historical data (but, failing that, may constitute a source of humor :P)

I have recently completed a sequence on Theory Of Mind. This sequence is a synthesis of my own making. It marries the following mini-theories:

  1. Agent Detection arguments (Scott Atran’s arguments, among others)
  2. Intentional Stance (inspired by Daniel Dennett)
  3. Spinozan brain (Gilbert thesis).
  4. False beliefs blindness solved by counterfactuals (a small part of Leslie’s theory).

While I agree that pretense is the solution to false belief blindness, I currently reject Leslie’s broader theory of representation. This is despite my own synthesis e.g., not yet providing a mechanical explanation for the phenomenon of counterfactual decoupling.

With the completion of this sequence, it is time to update my vision of mental architecture.

Architecture v1.2

Recent musings on culture:

  • Introducing human culture as something that organisms inherit. Follows the dual inheritance model of Boyd and Richerson. For now (this is my first truly serious foray into the science of culture)
  • When it comes time to investigate culture, I want to learn how dominance hierarchies fractionated into (1) religions, (2) marked social groups, (3) economies, (4) political affiliations, and (5) cultural knowledge. I want to explore which cultural mode manifested first in human evolution (a “phylogeny of cultural modes”), and why every branch is not covered by others (especially the different services provided between religions/marked social groups/political affiliations).

Recent musings on identity systems:

  • I’ve added three modules representing various processes underlying identity management. Arguably, there are four identity management motives: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-evaluation_motives. The three modules explore self-verification theory (c.f., confirmation bias), self-confirmation theory (c.f. self-esteem and its relation to expanding latitudes of belief), and self-evaluation (c.f., Bandura’s self-efficacy and Ainslie’s personal rules). I don’t require an explicit module for self-improvement at this time, as I suspect it may be a comparatively-more composite process.

Recent musings on decision systems:

  • A recent integrative “aha moment”, which I have not yet had time to explain: Motivation Is Utility Transduction. All of the explananda I had been reserving for motivation, I am hoping to reduce in utility production later passed to neuroeconomic winner-take-all mechanisms.
  • I wonder whether attention needs to be exploded into several modules; perhaps a separate module to track e.g., perceptual attention like saccades. I also wonder whether one of these exploded modules will connect with the Central Executive of Working Memory.

Known omissions and “module folding”:

  • Arousal module remains omitted (for the same reason that Heart Rate and other brain stem functions aren’t captured here).
  • Metaphor remains omitted, as I suspect that it is an artifact of Hebbian learning (that is, closer married to neurophysiology than dedicated computational modules)
  • Kin Detection (related to e.g., see filial imprinting) is folded into Agent Classifier.
  • Folk Geometry is folded into Folk Math.

Miscellaneous changes:

  • Adding an Environment -> Genome arrow to represent epigenetics. Mostly a bookmark b/c I need to absorb more from this field.
  • Folk Psychology moved to Social Systems (as discussed in Intentional Stance)

Research Directions:

  • My current investigations have tended to center around social psychology (e.g., tribalism, morality, love, religion, culture). In the next 6 months, it would be good for me to swing back to the cognitive side (e.g., language, domain-specificity of memory).
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