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Abstract concepts require concrete models: Why cognitive scientists have not yet ebraced nonlinearly-coupled, dynamical, self-organized critical, synergistic, scale-free, equisitely context-sensitive, interaction-dominant, multifractal, interdependant, brain-body-niche systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • EJ Wagenmakers
  • HLJ Van Der Mass
  • SA Farrell
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87 - 93
Number of pages7
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
DatePublished - Jan 2012


After more than 15 years of study, the 1/f noise or complex-systems approach to cognitive science has delivered promises of progress, colorful verbiage, and statistical analyses of phenomena whose relevance for cognition remains unclear. What the complex-systems approach has arguably failed to deliver are concrete insights about how people perceive, think, decide, and act. Without formal models that implement the proposed abstract concepts, the complex-systems approach to cognitive science runs the danger of becoming a philosophical exercise in futility. The complex-systems approach can be informative and innovative, but only if it is implemented as a formal model that allows concrete prediction, falsification, and comparison against more traditional approaches.

    Structured keywords

  • Memory


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