Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dynamic systems theory in cognitive science

Following up on this earlier post, see "Dynamic Systems Theory in Cognitive Science: Major Elements, Applications, and Debates Surrounding a Revolutionary Meta-Theory."

"Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) is a broad theoretical framework imported from the physical sciences and used in psychology and cognitive science in the past several decades that provides an alternative to the computational and information-processing approach that has governed main stream cognitive science since the dawn of the cognitive revolution in the mid-twentieth century (Beer, 2000; van Gelder & Port, 1995; van Gelder, 1998; Spivey, 2007). DST views all psychological processes and capacities as dynamic systems which are best described as complex, non-linear, self-organizing and emergent and whereby cognition develops over the life-course and occurs over real-time as a probable description of many possible alternatives instead of linear assembly of symbolic processes (Spivey, 2007; van Gelder & Port, 1995).
Psychological capacities are viewed as emerging as more complex unique forms from prior simpler states, moving from chaotic to more stable trajectories in a theoretical state-space that culminate in the manifestation of a specific thought in real-time or a developmental phenomenon over ontogenesis (Spivey, 2006, Thelen & Smith, 1994; van Geert, 1998). There is a sensitivity to initial conditions and a determination by multiple causality, whereby psychological phenomena, be it a developmental capacity or cognition more generally, are softly-assembled (Thelen & Smith, 2003)." [...]

"DST provides an account of cognitive phenomena that is dynamical, embodied, completely situated and ecologically-grounded and the ways that cognitive scientists go about conducting research and theory building is likely to be influenced by these fundamental aspects to this meta-theory."

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