Brain and Mind

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 129–149 | Cite as

Interpreting the Internal Structure of a Connectionist Model of the Balance Scale Task

  • Michael R. W. Dawson
  • Corinne Zimmerman


One new tradition that has emerged from early research on autonomous robots is embodied cognitive science. This paper describes the relationship between embodied cognitive science and a related tradition, synthetic psychology. It is argued that while both are synthetic, embodied cognitive science is antirepresentational while synthetic psychology still appeals to representations. It is further argued that modern connectionism offers a medium for conducting synthetic psychology, provided that researchers analyze the internal representations that their networks develop. The paper then provides a detailed example of the synthetic approach by showing how the construction (and subsequent analysis) of a connectionist network can be used to contribute to a theory of how humans solve Piaget's classic balance scale task.

balance scale task cognitive informatics connectionism embodied cognitive science synthetic psychology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. W. Dawson
    • 1
  • Corinne Zimmerman
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Computation ProjectUniversity of AlbertaEdmonton, AlbertaCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalU.S.A.

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