Cued and Detached Representations in Animal Cognition

Forskningsoutput: Working paper


This paper analyzes the function of certain aspects of cognition, like planning, deceiving, self-awareness, and communication. I distinguish between two kinds of representations of information. A cued representation stands for something that is present in the current situation. Detached representations stand for objects or events that are neither present in the situation nor triggered by some recent situation. The inner environment of an animal is defined as the collection of all detached representations. The fundamental difference between signals and symbols is that the reference of a symbol is a detached representation, while a signal refers to a cued representation.

Detached representations make planning possible. I distinguish between immediate planning, where plans are made for present needs, and anticipatory planning, where future needs are predicted.

The evolution of self-consciousness is outlined as a series of steps. The first is when other agents are seen as having an inner environment of their own. This is when deception becomes possible. A further step is when the agent realizes that the other agents' representations of the external world includes a representation of the inner environment of the agent itself. Then the agent can become self-conscious since it can form representations of its own representations.


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StatusPublished - 1995


NamnLund University Cognitive Studies
ISSN (tryckt)1101-8453