How is knowledge learned, coded, and used for the sake of perception and memory?

Jreffrey Bowers


University of Bristol
United Kingdom

The course will explore fundamental questions concerning the mental representations that support perception, memory and language.

Lecture 1. Grandmother cells are biologically plausible.

Relevant Readings:
  1. Bowers, J. S. (2009). On the biological plausibility of grandmother cells: implications for neural network theories in psychology and neuroscience. Psychological review, 116(1), 220.
  2. Plaut, D. C., & McClelland, J. L. (2010). Locating object knowledge in the brain: Comment on Bowers's (2009) attempt to revive the grandmother cell hypothesis. Psychological review, 117(1), 284.
  3. Quiroga, R. Q., & Kreiman, G. (2010). Measuring sparseness in the brain: Comment on. Psychological review, 117(1), 291.
  4. Bowers, J. S. (2010). More on grandmother cells and the biological implausibility of PDP models of cognition: A reply to Plaut and McClelland (2010) and Quian Quiroga and Kreiman (2010). Psychological review, 117(1), 300.
  5. Bowers, J. S. (2011). What is a grandmother cell? And how would you know if you found one?.Connection Science, 23(2), 91-95.

Lecture 2. Computational arguments in support of localist or highly selective coding.

Relevant Readings:
  1. Bowers, J. S. (2002). Challenging the widespread assumption that connectionism and distributed representations go hand-in-hand. Cognitive Psychology, 45(3), 413-445.
  2. Bowers, J.S., Vankov, I.I., Damian, M.F., & Davis, C.J. (submitted). Neural networks learn highly selective representations in order to overcomethe superposition catastrophe. Long version that deals with generalization.

Lecture 3. Knowledge is often coded in a symbolic manner.

Relevant Readings:
  1. Bowers, J. S., Damian, M. F., & Davis, C. J. (2009). A fundamental limitation of the conjunctive codes learned in PDP models of cognition: Comment on Botvinick and Plaut (2006). Psychological review, 116(4), 986-997.
  2. Botvinick, M. M., & Plaut, D. C. (2009). Empirical and computational support for context-dependent representations of serial order: Reply to Bowers, Damian, and Davis (2009). Psychological review, 116(4), 998-1002.
  3. Bowers, J. S., Damian, M. F., & Davis, C. J. (2009). Postscript: More problems with Botvinick and Plaut's (2006) PDP model of short-term memory. Language, 54, 81-98.
  4. Botvinick, M. M., & Plaut, D. C. (2009). Postscript: winnowing out some take-home points. Psychological Review, 116(4), 1001-1002.
  5. Sibley, D. E., Kello, C. T., Plaut, D. C., & Elman, J. L. (2008). Large?Scale Modeling of Wordform Learning and Representation.Cognitive Science, 32(4), 741-754.
  6. Bowers, J. S., & Davis, C. J. (2009). Learning representations of wordforms with recurrent networks: Comment on Sibley, Kello, Plaut, & Elman (2008). Cognitive Science, 33(7), 1183-1186.
  7. Sibley, D. E., Kello, C. T., Plaut, D. C., & Elman, J. L. (2009). Sequence Encoders Enable Large?Scale Lexical Modeling: Reply to Bowers and Davis (2009). Cognitive science, 33(7), 1187-1191.

Lecture 4. How is knowledge learned and accessed.

Relevant Readings:
  1. Bowers, J. S., Mattys, S. L., & Gage, S. H. (2009). Preserved implicit knowledge of a forgotten childhood language. Psychological science, 20(9), 1064-1069.
  2. Bowers, J. S., Davis, C. J., & Hanley, D. A. (2005). Automatic semantic activation of embedded words: Is there a "hat" in "that"?.Journal of Memory and Language, 52(1), 131-143.

Lecture 5. Bayesian theories of perception and cognition.

Relevant Readings:
  1. Bowers, J. S., & Davis, C. J. (2012). Bayesian just-so stories in psychology and neuroscience.Psychological bulletin, 138(3), 389-414.
  2. Griffiths, T. L., Chater, N., Norris, D., &Pouget, A. (2012). How the Bayesians got their beliefs (and what those beliefs actually are): Comment on Bowers and Davis (2012). Psychological bulletin, 138(3), 415-422.
  3. Bowers, J. S., & Davis, C. J. (2012). Is that what Bayesians believe? Reply to Griffiths, Chater, Norris, and Pouget (2012). Psychological bulletin, 138(3), 423-426.