It is common to explain humans behavior by having the brain follow a certain objective function, that may have been formed through evolution. Given the objective function and infinite computing resources, we could apply reinforcement learning to simulate human behavior.

However, is it be possible that behavior emerges from other processes that do not have a clear objective function? Is there any related work in cognitive science?

  • $\begingroup$ "Heuristic" is a general term for decision processes which might not strictly be said to be algorithmic. So I would restate your wording as: most thought is an optimization process which does not have a formal basis. (This would be true for thought in animals also.) So in this sense, it might be the case that AI cannot simulate thinking either through algorithms and decision procedures (frames etc) or through neural networks. It might be too many-layered of a process for those to work. We might actually need something like Searle's "causal powers of the brain" to have machine intelligence. $\endgroup$ – user9634 Apr 1 '16 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Another area you could research is the idea that there are multiple points of view or centers of awareness in the mind at any given time (and they can stop and restart again later). This has been well-established by now, especially with split-brain studies. You could see what has been going on lately in the field of Non-Symbolic Consciousness, including Jeffery A. Martin's study of Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience. Not sure how AI could "simulate" consciousness: either it is, or it aint. $\endgroup$ – user9634 Apr 1 '16 at 17:06

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