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Principles of representation: why you can't represent the same concept twice

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Topics in Cognitive Science
Issue number3
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)390-406
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As embodied theories of cognition are increasingly formalized and tested, care must be taken to make informed assumptions regarding the nature of concepts and representations. In this study, we outline three reasons why one cannot, in effect, represent the same concept twice. First, online perception affects offline representation: Current representational content depends on how ongoing demands direct attention to modality-specific systems. Second, language is a fundamental facilitator of offline representation: Bootstrapping and shortcuts within the computationally cheaper linguistic system continuously modify representational content. Third, time itself is a source of representational change: As the content of underlying concepts shifts with the accumulation of direct and vicarious experience, so too does the content of representations that draw upon these concepts. We discuss the ramifications of these principles for research into both human and synthetic cognitive systems.