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Title: Role of cognitive actions in learning
Authors: Fan, Judith
Advisors: Turk-Browne, Nicholas B.
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: attention
skill acquisition
Subjects: Cognitive psychology
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Just as the flight of the honeybee links flower to flower, multiplying their numbers across generations, acts of cognition connect disparate ideas and engender new ones. We promote these connections in various ways, by selecting which thoughts to bring to mind, and actively exploring the world around us. My research program seeks to uncover how we employ such cognitive actions to make sense of our world. This notion of cognitive actions refers broadly to operations that have the capacity to transform mental representations through their very execution. In some cases, these acts are not readily visible by external observers (e.g., memory retrieval). In other cases, these acts are accompanied by motor movements that are externally observable (e.g., reaching) or leave a visible trace (e.g., drawing). Understanding the consequences of such cognitive actions is especially important because they are the essence of intelligent, goal-directed behavior. My dissertation focuses on object learning — that is, how people acquire knowledge about the diagnostic features of objects and adaptively exploit this knowledge to achieve their goals. In Chapters 1-3 I will describe a series of studies I conducted to examine the consequences of internally-directed cognitive actions (i.e., internal attention) on the organization of long- term memory representations, as well the influence of these memories on attention and perception. Chapter 4 will address the influence of task-related and sensory feedback (i.e., visual and haptic) during task practice on perceptual representations. Finally, in Chapter 5, I describe investigations of the impact of ‘visual production’ (i.e., drawing) on the mental representation of object categories.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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