Anigrafs : Experiments in Cooperative Cognitive Architecture
In this book, Whitman Richards offers a novel and provocative proposal for understanding decision making and human behavior. Building on Valentino Braitenberg's famous "vehicles," Richards describes a collection of mental organisms that he calls "daemons" -- virtual correlates of neural modules. Daemons have favored choices and make decisions that control behaviors of the group to which they belong, with each daemon preferring a different outcome. Richards arranges these preferences in graphs, linking similar choices, which thus reinforce each other. "Anigrafs" refers to these two components -- animals, or the mental organisms (agents or daemons), and the graphs that show similarity relations. Together these two components are the basis of a new cognitive architecture.
In Richards's account, a collection of daemons compete for control of the cognitive system in which they reside; the challenge is to get the daemons to agree on one of many choices. Richards explores the results of group decisions, emphasizing the Condorcet voting procedure for aggregating preferences. A neural mechanism is proposed. Anigrafs presents a series of group decisions that incorporate simple and complex movements, as well as aspects of cognition and belief. Anigrafs concludes with a section on "metagrafs," which chart relationships between different anigraf models.