What is cognitive and what is not cognitive?

Toates, F. (1994). What is cognitive and what is not cognitive? In: Cliff, D.; Husbands, P.; Meyer, J-A. and Wilson, S. W. eds. From Animals to Animats 3: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Simulation of Adaptive Behavior. Complex Adaptive Systems. Cambridge: The MIT Press, pp. 102–107.


The ubiquitous contemporary use of the term 'cognitive' brings certain drawbacks. In the tradition of Tolman (1932), closer attention might be paid to its meaning in a way that can demarcate cognitive from non-cognitive processes. This has implications for understanding learning, motivation and behavioural hierarchies. It suggests different evolutionary processes, reveals similarities in information processing in rats and humans and is relevant to the design of automatons.

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