Complex Systems Science potentially offers Cognitive Science a unifying framework that would bring together the study of brain, mind, and behavior. The Theoretical framework of Complex Systems defines a system as a collection of interconnect components that operate together in a way that generates the behavior of the system as a whole. Each system is also a unit, embedded within a larger system, and interacts with other such units in a way that defines its function. There are multiple quantitative techniques that have been developed to study systems as such, including Dynamical Systems Theory, Information Theory, and Network (Graph) Theory.
I am applying this approach to the study of cognitive systems by evolving minimal models of brain-body-environment systems through computer simulation, and then analyzing the resulting models with the previously listed quantitative methods.
Some of my research interests within this framework are:
- How multiple functions can arise from a dynamical neuronal circuit coupled with a body and environment.
- Goal Setting and Switching: how such a dynamical brain-body-environment system can set goals, pursue them, and switch to different goals
- How multiple informational inputs get integrated in a dynamical circuit.
- How agents in an environment can improve their performance through a process of learning.