We do several things at once

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Nick Chater's book does a good job of defending the idea that we do only one thing at a time.
One objection (articulated by Jenny Read in our discussions) is that we are assuming a single $r$ at any moment (to be compared with $W$) whereas in fact people do several things at once ('walk and chew', classically, while at the same time thinking about what is for supper). This requires us to posit separate $r$ vectors passing through $W$ space at once unless we want to contemplate an unmanageable combinatorial explosion of walking, humming, standing, chewing, thinking-about-supper joint activities, each with their own Voronoi cell (and we don't).

Nick Chater has just published a book The Mind is Flat[1]which defends the same position as proposed here, i.e. that we do essentially one thing at a time. For example, for 1/3 of a second we do one thing, but then we can flip to another task, so it may look as if we are doing more than one thing at a time. He argues that examples like walking and chewing, though correct, should not distract from the essential simple message. Here is a section of the book ending in a reference to the 'walk and chew' case.


  1. Chater, N (2018) The Mind is Flat:The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind, Allen Lane, Random House, UK