Interesting hypothesis about how cognitive abilities can be modelled with closed control loops that run in parallel -using hierarchies of abstraction and prediction-, traditionally used just for low-level behaviours

Giovanni Pezzulo, Paul Cisek, Navigating the Affordance Landscape: Feedback Control as a Process Model of Behavior and Cognition, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 20, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 414-424, ISSN 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2016.03.013.

We discuss how cybernetic principles of feedback control, used to explain sensorimotor behavior, can be extended to provide a foundation for understanding cognition. In particular, we describe behavior as parallel processes of competition and selection among potential action opportunities (‘affordances’) expressed at multiple levels of abstraction. Adaptive selection among currently available affordances is biased not only by predictions of their immediate outcomes and payoffs but also by predictions of what new affordances they will make available. This allows animals to purposively create new affordances that they can later exploit to achieve high-level goals, resulting in intentional action that links across multiple levels of control. Finally, we discuss how such a ‘hierarchical affordance competition’ process can be mapped to brain structure.

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