Offloading cognition onto the Web

Carr, Les and Harnad, Stevan (2011) Offloading cognition onto the Web. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 26, (1), 33-39. (doi:10.1109/MIS.2011.19).

This is the latest version of this item.


[img] PDF - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (199Kb)


In modeling human cognitive capacity there is a question of what needs to be built in and what can be left out, because we can offload it onto cognitive technology, such as a google web search. Word meanings can be represented in two different ways: sensorimotor and verbal. Verbals definitions and descriptions can be offloaded, sensorimotor representations cannot. Dictionaries have a "grounding kernel" of words from which all other words can be reached through recombinatory definition alone. The words are learned at an earlier age and are more concrete. We tested conjunctive and disjunctive google search for target terms that had their own wikipedia entries, using either the target terms themselves, or the three words that had the highest co-occurrence frequency (latent semantic analysis) with the target words in Wordnet. The highly co-occurring words were surprisingly ineffective in retrieving the target word, even in joint conjunctive and disjunctive searches and there was no significant correlation with age of acquisition or concreteness. This raises some questions about the similarity between human associative memory and google-based associative search.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1109/MIS.2011.19
ISSNs: 1541-1672 (print)
Keywords: cognition, search, memory
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions : Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering > Electronics and Computer Science > Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 271030
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2011Published
Date Deposited: 07 May 2010 11:35
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:18
Further Information:Google Scholar

Available Versions of this Item

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics