The Multiple Interactive Levels of Cognition (MILCS) perspective on group cognition

Goldstone, R. L., & Theiner, G. (2017). The Multiple Interactive Levels of Cognition (MILCS) perspective on group cognition.  Philosophical Psychology, 1-35.  DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2017.1295635

We lay out a multiple, interacting levels of cognitive systems¬†(MILCS) framework to account for the cognitive capacities of¬†individuals and the groups to which they belong. The goal of¬†MILCS is to explain the kinds of cognitive processes typically¬†studied by cognitive scientists, such as perception, attention,¬†memory, categorization, decision-making, problem solving,¬†judgment, and flexible behavior. Two such systems are¬†considered in some detail‚ÄĒlateral inhibition within a network¬†for selecting the most attractive option from a candidate set¬†and a diffusion process for accumulating evidence to reach¬†a rapid and accurate decision. These system descriptions¬†are aptly applied at multiple levels, including within and¬†across people. These systems provide accounts that unify¬†cognitive processes across multiple levels, can be expressed¬†in a common vocabulary provided by network science, are¬†inductively powerful yet appropriately constrained, and are¬†applicable to a large number of superficially diverse cognitive¬†systems. Given group identification processes, cognitively¬†resourceful people will frequently form groups that effectively¬†employ cognitive systems at higher levels than the individual.¬†The impressive cognitive capacities of individual people do¬†not eliminate the need to talk about group cognition. Instead,¬†smart people can provide the interacting parts for smart¬†groups

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