Limits...
Banishing the Control Homunculi in Studies of Action Control and Behavior Change.

Verbruggen F, McLaren IP, Chambers CD - Perspect Psychol Sci (2014)

Bottom Line: These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working and long-term memory.We also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatized with practice and how people develop a control network.Finally, we discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel behavioral change interventions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, Exeter University, Exeter, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
For centuries, human self-control has fascinated scientists and nonscientists alike. Current theories often attribute it to an executive control system. But even though executive control receives a great deal of attention across disciplines, most aspects of it are still poorly understood. Many theories rely on an ill-defined set of "homunculi" doing jobs like "response inhibition" or "updating" without explaining how they do so. Furthermore, it is not always appreciated that control takes place across different timescales. These two issues hamper major advances. Here we focus on the mechanistic basis for the executive control of actions. We propose that at the most basic level, action control depends on three cognitive processes: signal detection, action selection, and action execution. These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working and long-term memory. We also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatized with practice and how people develop a control network. Finally, we discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel behavioral change interventions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

A schematic overview of our framework, which is inspired by Newell’s Unified Theories of Cognition (Newell, 1990). We define various forms of behavioral control as an interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes (signal detection, action selection, and action execution), which are regulated and influenced by (sets of) processes that take place on different timescales: outcome monitoring, advance preparation, rule acquisition and maintenance, associative learning, and development. We propose that the parameters of all three basic processes (detection, selection, execution) can be influenced by these other processes. In the main text, we discuss each “box” in more detail so as to avoid the introduction of new homunculi.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2 - License 3
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4232338&req=5

fig1-1745691614526414: A schematic overview of our framework, which is inspired by Newell’s Unified Theories of Cognition (Newell, 1990). We define various forms of behavioral control as an interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes (signal detection, action selection, and action execution), which are regulated and influenced by (sets of) processes that take place on different timescales: outcome monitoring, advance preparation, rule acquisition and maintenance, associative learning, and development. We propose that the parameters of all three basic processes (detection, selection, execution) can be influenced by these other processes. In the main text, we discuss each “box” in more detail so as to avoid the introduction of new homunculi.

Mentions: Our proposed solution for these interlinked issues is a comprehensive theoretical framework of action control and adaptive behavior that integrates research from different areas (see Fig. 1 for a schematic representation). We will focus not only on the functions of the cognitive control system but also on the underlying cognitive processes. We define various forms of behavioral control as resulting from the interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes: signal detection, action selection, and action execution. Each process is monitored, and parameters are adjusted when the outcome is suboptimal. Furthermore, preparation will directly affect the effectiveness of the selection and execution processes. Task rules, which have to be activated and maintained, will constrain the processes and adjustments. Finally, we will outline how action control and behavioral change gradually becomes automatized through practice and, more generally, how a control system can develop.


Banishing the Control Homunculi in Studies of Action Control and Behavior Change.

Verbruggen F, McLaren IP, Chambers CD - Perspect Psychol Sci (2014)

A schematic overview of our framework, which is inspired by Newell’s Unified Theories of Cognition (Newell, 1990). We define various forms of behavioral control as an interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes (signal detection, action selection, and action execution), which are regulated and influenced by (sets of) processes that take place on different timescales: outcome monitoring, advance preparation, rule acquisition and maintenance, associative learning, and development. We propose that the parameters of all three basic processes (detection, selection, execution) can be influenced by these other processes. In the main text, we discuss each “box” in more detail so as to avoid the introduction of new homunculi.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2 - License 3
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4232338&req=5

fig1-1745691614526414: A schematic overview of our framework, which is inspired by Newell’s Unified Theories of Cognition (Newell, 1990). We define various forms of behavioral control as an interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes (signal detection, action selection, and action execution), which are regulated and influenced by (sets of) processes that take place on different timescales: outcome monitoring, advance preparation, rule acquisition and maintenance, associative learning, and development. We propose that the parameters of all three basic processes (detection, selection, execution) can be influenced by these other processes. In the main text, we discuss each “box” in more detail so as to avoid the introduction of new homunculi.
Mentions: Our proposed solution for these interlinked issues is a comprehensive theoretical framework of action control and adaptive behavior that integrates research from different areas (see Fig. 1 for a schematic representation). We will focus not only on the functions of the cognitive control system but also on the underlying cognitive processes. We define various forms of behavioral control as resulting from the interplay between three basic and computationally well-defined processes: signal detection, action selection, and action execution. Each process is monitored, and parameters are adjusted when the outcome is suboptimal. Furthermore, preparation will directly affect the effectiveness of the selection and execution processes. Task rules, which have to be activated and maintained, will constrain the processes and adjustments. Finally, we will outline how action control and behavioral change gradually becomes automatized through practice and, more generally, how a control system can develop.

Bottom Line: These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working and long-term memory.We also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatized with practice and how people develop a control network.Finally, we discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel behavioral change interventions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, Exeter University, Exeter, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
For centuries, human self-control has fascinated scientists and nonscientists alike. Current theories often attribute it to an executive control system. But even though executive control receives a great deal of attention across disciplines, most aspects of it are still poorly understood. Many theories rely on an ill-defined set of "homunculi" doing jobs like "response inhibition" or "updating" without explaining how they do so. Furthermore, it is not always appreciated that control takes place across different timescales. These two issues hamper major advances. Here we focus on the mechanistic basis for the executive control of actions. We propose that at the most basic level, action control depends on three cognitive processes: signal detection, action selection, and action execution. These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working and long-term memory. We also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatized with practice and how people develop a control network. Finally, we discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel behavioral change interventions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus