Hierarchical representation

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This deserves a longer discussion but, just for reference, here is a copy of a conversation with Anastasia on Teams:

AG: "Throughout this seminar series you have been raising the idea of hierarchical representation which I think is really important and (if I have understood it correctly) I completely agree with you. The toad category of prey includes horizontal strips of cardboard (see toad video). For humans, our representation of a blue and white pot might be 'old pot', 'delfware pot', 'eighteenth century English delftware pot' etc, so like Popper's view of science, there is no perfectly correct answer or 'fact of the matter'. Correct identification and mistakes go together. Data come in and the nervous system fits a model ('correct' representation) but there is always a residual to the model fit ('misrepresentation'); they go together. Firing of 1a fibres in a stretch reflex is my favourite example. The stretch reflex does it's job (fits it's model, adjust muscle force, carries out its function) but it also passes on the error signal. The nervous system is built hierarchically to respond in basic ways and to pass the error signals up to a higher level (eg the cerebellum, to change the alpha/gamma ratio of outputs next time the action is carried out, see Visual stability). So, yes, the hierarchical view of representation that you have been raising in the series is exactly right, I think."

Back to notes on Shea (2018).