Unit 1: Summary
What Cognitive Scientists Do
- Pick a cognitive (rather than a physical, biological,
or social) phenomenon.
- Study the phenomenon until you can describe it
- Attempt to model the phenomenon.
- Show how the different variables are related mathematically.
- Come up with an algorithm, a sequence of steps
which specifies how an input to the system yields an output.
- If necessary, implement the model in the form of a computer
program and run it with different inputs and different
parameter settings to see if it works and to tune it.
- Publish your results and hope that other cognitive scientists
will take you seriously.
- Periodic processes repeat themselves. They have
- Characterizing variable(s): the thing(s) that actually repeat(s)
- Period (frequency)
- Phase angle (at any given time)
- Two or more more periodic processes may be
- In phase or out of phase
- Phase-locked or not
- Periodicity and synchronization occur in biological systems because
- biological systems are physical systems, for which periodicity
is one kind of stability
- it provides a kind of memory for the recurring need
for some behavior
- it allows animals to synchronize their behavior with
periodic events in the environment
- it allows animals to synchronize their behavior with each other
- it permits
Oscillators and Coupling
- Oscillators: abstract things which exhibit periodicity
- Coupling: influence of one oscillator on another's periodic
- An oscillator may influence the phase or the period (frequency)
of another oscillator.
- The amount of influence of one oscillator on another depends on
some function of the difference in the phase angles of the oscillators.
- With the right parameter settings, coupled oscillator exhibit
synchronization (and sometimes anti-synchronization).
- Systems of coupled oscillators represent computational
models of some biological and cognitive processes, for example,
synchronization of firefly flashing, animal gaits, and
the perception of musical meter.
Take me back to the Rhythm and Cognition
Last updated: 3 October 1995
Copyright 1995, The Trustees of