Constraints associated with cognitive control and the stability-flexibility dilemma

Sebastian Musslick, Seong J. Jang, Michael Shvartsman, Amitai Shenhav, Jonathan D. Cohen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the most compelling characteristics of controlled processing is our limitation to exercise it. Theories of control allocation account for such limitations by assuming a cost of control that constrains how much cognitive control is allocated to a task. However, this leaves open the question of why such a cost would exist in the first place. Here, we use neural network simulations to test the hypothesis that constraints on cognitive control may reflect an optimal solution to the stability-flexibility dilemma: allocating more control to a task results in greater activation of its neural representation but also in greater persistence of this activity upon switching to a new task, yielding switch costs. We demonstrate that constraints on control impair performance of any given task but reduce performance costs associated with task switches. Critically, we show that optimal control constraints are higher in environments with a higher probability of task switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2018
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages804-809
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196784
StatePublished - 2018
Event40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018 - Madison, United States
Duration: Jul 25 2018Jul 28 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2018

Conference

Conference40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMadison
Period7/25/187/28/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • capacity constraint
  • cost of cognitive control
  • neural networks
  • task switching

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