The function of language in high-order goal-directed human cognition is an important topic at the centre of current debates. Experimental evidence shows that inner speech, representing a self-directed form of language, empowers cognitive processes such as working memory, perception, categorization, and executive functions. Here we study the relations between inner speech and processes like feedback processing and cognitive flexibility. To this aim we propose a computational model that controls an artificial agent who uses inner speech to internally manipulate its representations. The agent is able to reproduce human behavioural data collected during the solution of the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, a neuropsychological test measuring cognitive flexibility, both in the basic condition and when a verbal shadowing protocol is used. The components of the model were systematically lesioned to clarify the specific impact of inner speech on the agent’s behaviour. The results indicate that inner speech improves the efficiency of internal representation manipulation. Specifically, it makes the representations linked to specific visual features more disentangled, thus improving the agent’s capacity to engage/disengage attention on stimulus features after positive/negative action outcomes. Overall, the model shows how inner speech could improve goal-directed internal manipulation of representations and enhance behavioural flexibility.

A computational model of language functions in flexible goal-directed behaviour / Granato, G.; Borghi, A. M.; Baldassarre, G.. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 10:1(2020), p. 21623. [10.1038/s41598-020-78252-y]

A computational model of language functions in flexible goal-directed behaviour

Borghi A. M.;
2020

Abstract

The function of language in high-order goal-directed human cognition is an important topic at the centre of current debates. Experimental evidence shows that inner speech, representing a self-directed form of language, empowers cognitive processes such as working memory, perception, categorization, and executive functions. Here we study the relations between inner speech and processes like feedback processing and cognitive flexibility. To this aim we propose a computational model that controls an artificial agent who uses inner speech to internally manipulate its representations. The agent is able to reproduce human behavioural data collected during the solution of the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, a neuropsychological test measuring cognitive flexibility, both in the basic condition and when a verbal shadowing protocol is used. The components of the model were systematically lesioned to clarify the specific impact of inner speech on the agent’s behaviour. The results indicate that inner speech improves the efficiency of internal representation manipulation. Specifically, it makes the representations linked to specific visual features more disentangled, thus improving the agent’s capacity to engage/disengage attention on stimulus features after positive/negative action outcomes. Overall, the model shows how inner speech could improve goal-directed internal manipulation of representations and enhance behavioural flexibility.
2020
inner speech, language, cognitive flexibility, computational neuroscience
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
A computational model of language functions in flexible goal-directed behaviour / Granato, G.; Borghi, A. M.; Baldassarre, G.. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 10:1(2020), p. 21623. [10.1038/s41598-020-78252-y]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1531036
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