Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Abstract Addressing and Discontinuous Addressing Impede Processing in Generalizing Hierarchies

The article is related to the series of:  Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Rationalization and Confusions Caused by High Level Generalizations and the Feedforward-Feedback Imbalance in Brain and Generalization Hierarchies

The lowest level of addressing for human mind are:

- Orientation/position of muscles/bones.
- Coordinates in sensory matrices:
  - Visual coordinate on the retina.
  - Coordinate of a tactile input on the body.
  - Pitch of the sound.
  - Particluar tastes or smells.

A bit higher level, but still low:
- Spatial coordinates of the body within environment (probably related to hippocampus, "place cells", head orientation cells)

These are direct inputs to brain.

Selection, combination and generalization of them in space and time forms higher level coordinates/addresses. The patterns/concepts at different levels of abstraction in the cognitive hierarchy have higher level addresses, where higher level addresses and patterns are harder and slower to access and operate and require more context- and attention-switching.

The phenomenon is displayed for example in:

1. Using multiple monitors and looking right-left is generally more convenient than switching between two virtual desktops with a key or worse - menus

Unless you make a visual comparison between the images on the two monitors, then key-switching is more convenient; but for displaying different data, physical coordinates seem better.

2. Having a "to do list" or whatever materials for look up on a paper/notepad next to the monitor/out of the computer is more convenient for mind to switch focus.

Looking aside of the monitor or turning around feels like a "soft context/attention-switch", you don't get as distracted as you would if you have to travel through menus, open an organizer program, check "month, date, priority....". Take for example big paper posters like ones for conferences - you just have to glance it to find what you need. These are different spatial (physical) coordinates of entities as well.

However if the data from different contexts is on the same screen/physical address, that requires an additional abstraction/parameters to mark the different contexts.

3. Chains of intentional high-level operations needed to access abstract addresses impede processing and are more distracting than a single or chain of low level operations such as adjusting muscles/orientation or changing physical location

For example, if you have to open one place, to search there, then find a key to search for another location etc. (either virtual or physical locations).

Intentional actions involve the longest chains of access of different levels of generalizations. If many actions are needed, this implies it takes more time and it's like "crawling" the hierarchy and sweeping the buffers, then it of course will cause slower context-switch back.

4. Orders of patterns associated with flat numbers are easier to remember than if associated with abstract unrelated names

See "Friday, May 2, 2008 What is better for a multi-effects guitar processor's display - numbers or names?" http://artificial-mind.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-is-better-for-guitar-effects.html

5. Continuity within same coordinate system/address space (related to 4.)

Smoothness allows for simper encoding of the following steps and predictions.