Interpreting the internal structure of a connectionist model of the balance scale task

Michael R.W. Dawson, Corinne Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


One new tradition that has emerged from early research on autonomous robots is embodied cognitive science. This paper describes the relationship between embodied cognitive science and a related tradition, synthetic psychology. It is argued that while both are synthetic, embodied cognitive science is antirepresentational while synthetic psychology still appeals to representations. It is further argued that modern connectionism offers a medium for conducting synthetic psychology, provided that researchers analyze the internal representations that their networks develop. The paper then provides a detailed example of the synthetic approach by showing how the construction (and subsequent analysis) of a connectionist network can be used to contribute to a theory of how humans solve Piaget's classic balance scale task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
JournalBrain and Mind
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Balance scale task
  • Cognitive informatics
  • Connectionism
  • Embodied cognitive science
  • Synthetic psychology


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