Cognitive control processes and their interaction

Richard P. Cooper and Eddy J. Davelaar

This project is concerned with understanding the computational basis of cognitive control. We are primarily concerned with two questions. First, assuming that cognitive control can be understood as a set of distinct processes, how does a single process (e.g., response inhibition) operate in different tasks? Second, how do such processes interact in the control of tasks of moderate complexity? We are very open to the possibility that phenomena associated with specific control processes (again, response inhibition is a good example) may emerge from the interaction of lower-level processes. Our computational work on this project is supported by associated empirical studies.

Selected Relevant Publications

Imitation and social learning

Richard P. Cooper (with Cecilia Heyes)

Computational modelling provides an ideal tool for exploring processes related to social learning and imitation. This ongoing project aims to understand whether social learning differs from other forms of learning. A longer term goal is to explore the development of "mirror neurons" and hence the significance and role of the "mirror neuron system".

Selected Relevant Publications

  • Cooper, R. P. & Heyes, C. (submitted), Are automatic and spatial compatibility mediated by different processes?

Learning routine goal-directed action sequences

Nicolas Ruh, Richard P. Cooper and Denis Mareschal

This projects is concerned with the computational processes that support routine sequential action, and specifically how routine goal-directed action sequences are learned. The primary computational outcome of the project is the "Goal-Cirtuit Model", a recurrent network model of routine action selection in which the basic SRC is augmented with a "goal-circuit", that allows top-down/intentional control and error correction. As with several projects within the lab, it includes a computational and an empirical strand.

Selected Relevant Publications

  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2010): Action selection in complex routinized sequential behaviors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36, 955-975.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2008): The hierarchies and systems that underlie routine behavior: evidence from an experiment in virtual gardening. In Sloutsky, V., Love, B., & McRae, K. (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th International Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Washington, DC. pp. 339-344. July.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2008): A connectionist approach to modelling the flexible control of routine activities. In French, R. M. & Thomas, E. (eds.), From Rules to Associations: Connectionist Models of Behaviour and Cognition. pp. 3-15. World Scientific: Singapore.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2006): Redundancy and multiple levels of control in a connectionist model of sequential action. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling. Trieste, Italy. pp. 262-267. April.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2005): Routine action: Combining familiarity and goal orientedness. In Bryson, J. J., Prescott, T. J., & Seth, A. K. (eds.), Modelling Natural Action Selection. Edinburgh. pp. 174-179.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2005): The time course of routine action. In Bara, B. G., Barsalou, L., & Bucciarelli, M. (eds.), Proceedings of the 27th International Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Stresa, Italy. pp. 1889-1894. July.
  • Ruh, N., Cooper, R. P., & Mareschal, D. (2005): A reinforcement model of sequential routine action. In Honkela, T., Köhönen, V., Pöllä, M., & Simula, O. (eds.), Proceedings of International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Adaptive Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. Espoo, Finland. pp. 65-70. June.

The breakdown of routine sequential action following neurological damage

Richard P. Cooper (with Tim Shallice)

Routine sequential action is subject to a variety of forms of breakdown following neurological damage. This project explores how different kinds of sequential action-selection deficits might arise in the cognitive system, with the starting point being an interactive activation network model of the control of routine behaviour based on the contention scheduling theory of Norman and Shallice (1986).

Selected Relevant Publications

  • Cooper, R. P. (2007): Tool use and related errors in Ideational Apraxia: The quantitative simulation of patient error profiles. Cortex, 43, 319-337.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Shallice, T. (2006): Structured representations in the control of behavior cannot be so easily dismissed: A reply to Botvinick and Plaut (2006). Psychological Review, 113, 929-931.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Shallice, T. (2006): Hierarchical schemas and goals in the control of sequential behaviour. Psychological Review, 113, 887-916.
  • Cooper, R. P. (2005): The control of routine action: Modelling normal and impaired functioning. In Houghton, G. (eds.), Connectionist models in Cognitive Psychology. pp. 313-344. Psychology Press: Hove, UK.
  • Cooper, R. P., Schwartz, M. F., Yule, P., & Shallice, T. (2005): The simulation of action disorganisation in complex activities of daily living. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22, 959-1004.
  • Cooper, R. P. (2003): Mechanisms for the generation and regulation of sequential behaviour. Philosophical Psychology, 16, 389-416.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Shallice, T. (2000): Contention Scheduling and the control of routine activities. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 17, 297-338.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Shallice, T. (1997): Modelling the selection of routine action: Exploring the criticality of parameter values. In Shafto, M. G. & Langley, P. (eds.), Proceedings of the 19th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Palo Alto, CA, USA. pp. 131-136. August.
  • Cooper, R. P., Shallice, T., & Farringdon, J. (1995): Symbolic and continuous processes in the automatic selection of actions. In Hallam, J. (eds.), Hybrid Problems, Hybrid Solutions. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, pp. 27-37. IOS Press: Amsterdam.

Analogy as relational priming

Rob Leech, Denis Mareschal and Richard P. Cooper

How do children solve simple anlogies like "kitten is to cat as puppy is to what?"? We propose a theory based on the priming of relations, so the first clause of the analogy primes the "is a baby" relation which, when combined with "puppy", produces the correct answer ("dog"). This theory is implemented in a connectionist model which learns relations through exposure to training exemplars and can then apply them to solve analogies. The theory is also supported by empirical findings.

Selected Relevant Publications

  • Mareschal, D., Leech, R., & Cooper, R. P. (2009): Connectionist and Dynamic Systems models of development: The case of analogical completion. In Spencer, J. P., Thomas, M. S. C., & McClelland, J. L. (eds.), Toward a New Grand Theory of Development? Connectionism and Dynamic Systems Theory Re-Considered. pp. 203-217. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.
  • Leech, R., Mareschal, D., & Cooper, R. P. (2008): Analogy as Relational Priming: A Developmental and Computational Perspective on the Origins of a Complex Cognitive Skill. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 357-378.
  • Leech, R., Mareschal, D., & Cooper, R. P. (2008): Response to commentators: Growing cognition from recycled parts. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 401-414.
  • Leech, R., Mareschal, D., & Cooper, R. P. (2007): Relations as Transformations: Implications for Analogical Reasoning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 897-908.
  • Leech, R., Mareschal, D., & Cooper, R. P. (2004): A temporal attractor framework for the development of analogical completion. In Bowman, H. & Labiouse, C. (eds.), Connectionist Models of Cognition and Perception II. pp. 201-210. World Scientific: Singapore.
  • Leech, R., Mareschal, D., & Cooper, R. P. (2003): A connectionist account of analogical development. In Alterman, R. & Kirsh, D. (eds.), Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Boston, MA. pp. 710-715. August.

COGENT and the methodology of computational modelling

Richard P. Cooper (with J. Fox, T. Shallice and P. Yule)

This is really a collection of projects related to modelling methodology, originally funded by the UK's Joint Council Initiative in Cognitive Science from 1990 to 1995 and then the EPSRC from 1996 to 2002. The projects were concerned with developing methodology and tools to support the scientifically rigorous development of cognitive models and the communication of such models. Apart from the key publications listed below, the work produced two major pieces of software: the COGENT modelling environment and the EXPRESS web-based experiment presentation system. Both of these tools remain current, with COGENT being used as a cognitive modelling teaching tool at numerous institutions across the world.

Selected Relevant Publications

  • Cooper, R. P. (2007): Integrating Cognitive Systems: The COGENT Approach. In Gray, W. D. (eds.), Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems. pp. 414-427. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.
  • Yule, P. & Cooper, R. P. (2003): Express: A web-based technology to support human and computational experimentation. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35, 605-613.
  • Cooper, R. P. (2002): Modelling High-Level Cognitive Processes. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ.
  • Yule, P. & Cooper, R. P. (2001): Towards a technology for computational experimentation. In Altmann, E., Cleeremans, A., Schunn, C. D., & Gray, W. D. (eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Cognitive Modelling. Fairfax, VA. pp. 223-228. July.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Fox, J. (1998): COGENT: A visual design environment for cognitive modelling. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 30, 553-564.
  • Cooper, R. P., Yule, P., Fox, J., & Sutton, D. (1998): COGENT: An environment for the development of cognitive models. In Schmid, U., Krems, J. F., & Wysotzki, F. (eds.), Mind Modelling: A Cognitive Science Approach to Reasoning, Learning and Discovery. pp. 55-82. Pabst Science Publishers: Lengerich, Deutschland.
  • Cooper, R. P., Fox, J., Farringdon, J., & Shallice, T. (1996): A systematic methodology for cognitive modelling. Artificial Intelligence, 85, 3-44.
  • Cooper, R. P. (1995): Towards an Object-Oriented Language for Cognitive Modeling. In Moore, J. D. & Lehman, J. F. (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Pittsburgh, PA, USA. pp. 556-561. July.
  • Cooper, R. P. & Shallice, T. (1995): Soar and the case for Unified Theories of Cognition. Cognition, 55, 115-149.