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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Processing Hierarchy and the Salience System

The Processing Hierarchy and the Salience System

(p.43) 3 The Processing Hierarchy and the Salience System
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the nature of the cognitive hierarchy and the salience system and their role in delusion. It gives examples of the way information flows through the hierarchy and explains the concept of error correction. Delusions arise at the highest levels in the hierarchy when agents reflect on salient information referred by lower-level systems. The chapter considers the basic computational architecture of referral and supervision, with particular emphasis on how information becomes salient—that is, how it becomes the object of cognition at the imprecise borders between controlled and automatic cognition. It also describes a cognitive theory that displays the relevant properties of the salience system at all levels, from automatic and reflexive to deliberate and reflective, and is provided in the form of a distinction between weight- and activation-based processing in neural networks. Furthermore, it discusses the role of the dopamine system in delusion and concludes by analyzing how the salience system operates in the hierarchy and optimizes the allocation of cognitive resources to relevant information.

Keywords:   cognitive hierarchy, salience system, delusion, error correction, salient information, referral, supervision, cognition, cognitive theory, dopamine

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