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Neurocognitive approach to creativity and higher-level cognition Włodzisław Duch & Co Katedra informatyki Stosowanej, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń,

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Presentation on theme: "Neurocognitive approach to creativity and higher-level cognition Włodzisław Duch & Co Katedra informatyki Stosowanej, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Neurocognitive approach to creativity and higher-level cognition Włodzisław Duch & Co Katedra informatyki Stosowanej, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń, Poland Dept. of Computer Science, School of Comp. Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Google: Duch

2 Plan 1.Most mysterious things about mind … 2.Creativity research: psychology and neuroscience. 3.Intuition and insight. 4.Neurocognitive model of higher mental functions. 5.Words in the brain. 6.Creation of novel words, puzzles and word games. 7.Creativity research - perspectives.

3 Most mysterious … What features of our brain/minds are most mysterious? Consciousness? Imagination? Intuition? Emotions, feelings? Higher mental functions? Masao Ito (director of RIKEN, neuroscientist) answered: creativity. Lady Lovelace (Turing 1950) wrote about Babbage analytical engine:It cannot originate anything, it merely does that which we order it to do. MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Sciences has 1100 pages. It has 6 chapters about logics & over 100 references to logics in the index. Creativity: 1 page (+1 page about creative person). Intuition: 0, not even mentioned in the index. In everyday life we use intuition more often than logics.

4 How to define creativity? Bink & Marsh (2001): the number of definitions of creativity is equal to the number of researchers that study this subject. Sternberg (ed. Handbook of Human Creativity, 1998):the capacity to create a solution that is both novel and appropriate, not only in creation of novel theories or inventions, but also in our everyday actions, language understanding, interactions. Encyclopedia of creativity (Elsevier, 2005), eds. M. Runco & S. Pritzke, 167 articles, but no testable models of creativity have been proposed. Journals: Creativity Research Journal, from 1988, LEA. Journal of Creative Behavior, from 1967, Creative Education Foundation. Many connections with research in: general intelligence, IQ tests, genius, special gifts, idiot savant syndrome and psychopathologies, intuition, insight (Eureka or Aha!), discovery...

5 Psychology of creativity G. Wallas, The art of thought (1926): four-stage Gestalt model of problem solving. 4 stages: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. These stages were identified in creative problem solving by individuals and small groups of people; additional stages may involve: preparation stage preceded by finding or noticing a problem, proposing interesting questions, frustration period preceding illumination, final stage of communication that follows the verification stage. Understanding details of such stages and sequences yielding creative productions is a central issue for creativity research, but is it sufficient? Poincare (1948): math intuition and creativity is a discrimination between promising and useless ideas and their combinations; math thinking may be based on heuristic search among sufficiently rich representations. Math intuition is an interplay between spatial imagination, abstraction and approximate reasoning, and analytical reasoning or visual-spatial and linguistic thinking, observed in fMRI imaging (S. Dehaene, 1999).

6 IntuitionIntuition Intuition is also a concept difficult to grasp, but commonly believed to play important role in business and other decision making; knowing without being able to explain how we know. Sinclair & Ashkanasy (2005): intuition is a non-sequential information- processing mode, which comprises both cognitive and affective elements and results in direct knowing without any use of conscious reasoning. First tests of intuition were introduced by Wescott (1961), now 3 tests are used, Rational-Experiential Inventory (REI), Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and Accumulated Clues Task (ACT). Different intuition measures are not correlated, showing problems in constructing theoretical concept of intuition. Significant correlations were found between REI intuition scale and some measures of creativity. Intuition may result from implicit learning of complex similarity-based evaluation that are difficult to express in symbolic (logical) way. Intuition in chess has been studied in details.

7 Insights and brains Activity of the brain while solving problems that required insight and that could be solved in schematic, sequential way has been investigated. E.M. Bowden, M. Jung-Beeman, J. Fleck, J. Kounios, New approaches to demystifying insight. Trends in Cognitive Science After solving a problem presented in a verbal way subjects indicated themselves whether they had an insight or not. An increased activity of the right hemisphere anterior superior temporal gyrus (RH-aSTG) was observed during initial solving efforts and insights. About 300 ms before insight a burst of gamma activity was observed, interpreted by the authors as making connections across distantly related information during comprehension... that allow them to see connections that previously eluded them.

8 Insight interpreted What really happens? My interpretation: LH-STG represents concepts, S=Start, F=final understanding, solving = transition, step by step, from S to F if no connection (transition) is found this leads to an impasse; RH-STG sees LH activity on meta-level, clustering concepts into abstract categories (cosets, or constrained sets); connection between S to F is found in RH, leading to a feeling of vague understanding; gamma burst increases the activity of LH representations for S, F and intermediate configurations; stepwise transition between S and F is found; finding solution is rewarded by emotions during Aha! experience; they are necessary to increase plasticity and create permanent links.

9 Memory & creativity Creative brains accept more incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment (Carson 2003), with low levels of latent inhibition responsible for filtering stimuli that were irrelevant in the past. Zen mind, beginners mind (S. Suzuki) – learn to avoid habituation! Complex representation of objects and situations kept in creative minds. Pair-wise word association technique may be used to probe if a connection between different configurations representing concepts in the brain exists. A. Gruszka, E. Nęcka, Creativity Research Journal, Words may be close (easy) or distant (difficult) to connect; priming words may be helpful or neutral; helpful words are either semantic or phonological (hogse for horse); neutral words may be nonsensical or just not related to the presented pair. Results for groups of people who are less/highly creative are surprising … Word 1Priming 0,2 sWord 2

10 Creativity & associations Hypothesis: creativity depends on the associative memory, ability to connect distant concepts together. Results: creativity is correlated with greater ability to associate words & susceptibility to priming, distal associations show longer latencies before decision is made. Neutral priming is strange! for close words and nonsensical priming words creative people do worse than less creative; in all other cases they do better. for distant words priming always increases the ability to find association, the effect is strongest for creative people. Latency times follow this strange patterns. Conclusions of the authors: More synaptic connections => better associations => higher creativity. Results for neutral priming are puzzling.

11 Words in the brain The cell assembly model of language has strong experimental support; F. Pulvermuller (2003) The Neuroscience of Language. On Brain Circuits of Words and Serial Order. Cambridge University Press. Acoustic signal => phonemes => words => semantic concepts. Semantic activations are seen 90 ms after phonological in N200 ERPs. Phonological density of words = # words that sound similar to a given word, that is create similar activations in phonological areas. Semantic density of words = # words that have similar meaning, or similar extended activation network. Perception/action networks, results from ERP & fMRI.

12 Words: simple model Goals: make the simplest testable model of creativity; create interesting novel words that capture some features of products; understand new words that cannot be found in the dictionary. Model inspired by the putative brain processes when new words are being invented. Start from keywords priming auditory cortex. Phonemes (allophones) are resonances, ordered activation of phonemes will activate both known words as well as their combinations; context + inhibition in the winner-takes-most leaves one or a few words. Creativity = imagination (fluctuations) + filtering (competition) Imagination: many chains of phonemes activate in parallel both words and non-words reps, depending on the strength of synaptic connections. Filtering: associations, emotions, phonological/semantic density.

13 Paired associations So why neutral priming for close associations and nonsensical priming words degrades results of creative people? High creativity = many connections between microcircuits; nonsensical words add noise, increasing activity between many circuits; in a densely connected network adding noise creates confusion, the time need for decision is increased because the system has to settle in specific attractor. If creativity is low and associations distant noise does not help because there are no connections, priming words contribute only to chaos. Nonsensical words increase overall activity in the intermediate configura- tions. For creative people resonance between distant microcircuits is possible: this is called stochastic resonance, observed in perception.stochastic resonance For priming words with similar spelling and close words the activity of the second word representation is higher, always increasing the chance of connections and decreasing latency. For distant words it will not help, as intermediate configurations are not activated.

14 Words: algorithm Neural resonant models (~ ARTWORD), or associative nets. Simplest things first => statistical model. Preliminary: create probability models for linking phonemes and syllables; create semantic and phonological distance measures for words. Statistical algorithm to find novel words: Read initial pool of keywords. Find phonological and semantic associations to increase the pool. Break all words into chains of phonemes, and chains of morphemes. Find all combinations of fragments forming longer chunks ranked according to their phonological probability (using bi- or tri-grams). For final ranking use estimation of semantic density around morphemes in the newly created words.

15 Words: experiments A real letter from a friend: I am looking for a word that would capture the following qualities: portal to new worlds of imagination and creativity, a place where visitors embark on a journey discovering their inner selves, awakening the Peter Pan within. A place where we can travel through time and space (from the origin to the future and back), so, its about time, about space, infinite possibilities. FAST!!! I need it sooooooooooooooooooooooon. creativital, creatival (creativity, portal), used in creativery (creativity, discovery), (strategy+creativity) discoverity = {disc, disco, discover, verity} (discovery, creativity, verity) digventure ={dig, digital, venture, adventure} still new! imativity (imagination, creativity); infinitime (infinitive, time) infinition (infinitive, imagination), already a company name journativity (journey, creativity) learnativity (taken, see portravel (portal, travel); sportal (space, sport, portal), taken timagination (time, imagination); timativity (time, creativity) tivery (time, discovery); trime (travel, time)

16 Word games Word games were popular before computer games. They are essential to the development of analytical thinking. Until recently computers could not play such games. The 20 question game may be the next great challenge for AI, because it is more realistic than the unrestricted Turing test; a World Championship with human and software players (in Singapore)? Finding most informative questions requires knowledge and creativity. Performance of various models of semantic memory and episodic memory may be tested in this game in a realistic, difficult application. Asking questions to understand precisely what the user has in mind is critical for search engines and many other applications. Creating large-scale semantic memory is a great challenge: ontologies, dictionaries (Wordnet), encyclopedias, MindNet (Microsoft), collaborative projects like Concept Net (MIT) …

17 Puzzle generator Semantic memory may be used to invent automatically a large number of word puzzles that the avatar presents. This application selects a random concept from all concepts in the memory and searches for a minimal set of features necessary to uniquely define it; if many subsets are sufficient for unique definition one of them is selected randomly. It has charm, it has spin, and it has charge. What is it? It is an Amphibian, it is orange and has black spots. How do you call this animal? A Salamander. If you do not know, ask Google! Quark page comes at the top …

18 Text understanding Neurocognitive approach to language understanding: use recognition, semantic and episodic memory models, create graphs of consistent concepts for interpretation, use spreading activation and inhibition to simulate effect of semantic priming, annotate and disambiguate text. For medical texts ULMS has >2M concepts, 15M relations … See: Unambiguous Concept Mapping in a Medical Domain, Thursday 11:45 (Matykiewicz, Duch, Pestian).

19 Humanized interface Store Applications, eg. 20 questions game Query Semantic memory Parser Part of speech tagger & phrase extractor On line dictionaries Manual verification

20 Commercial break Is creativity based on unconstrained imagination, no rules? No! Anarchist type of methods encouraging unstructured approach fail (including free associations, brainstorming, random stimulation or lateral thinking)! Structured approaches, based on higher-order rules and templates, lead to excellent results; see: Goldenberg, Mazursky & Solomon, Science 285, J. Goldenberg & D. Mazursky, Creativity in Product Innovation, CUP possible traits (T) were collected from adds in magazines; 900 symbols (S) that people associated with these traits were collected. 3-4 most frequent symbols were finally selected for each trait. Replacement schema for advertising of product P: 1. Define the relevant trait T for a given product P. 2. List symbols S that completely and unquestionably invoke T. 3. Construct P-space of objects that are strongly correlated with P. 4. Substitute an aspect A of one of the objects in place of the corresponding aspect of S.

21 Replacement scheme Task: create advertisement for Nike air shoes. Product P = Nike air shoes Trait T: cushioning and absorbing the shocks caused by jumping. Symbol S that invokes T: life net for fire victims jumping from a burning building. Replace S with P. Proposed advertisement: firemen holding a giant shoe! Ideas generated by the automated routine were presented to judges, along with ideas on the same theme appearing in magazine ads and advertising ideas generated by layman individuals. Magazine ads: , templates , laymens Winning adds:

22 More adds An Apple Computer terminal offering flowers (for advertising Apple Computers friendliness). Temple Mountain Mosque with Tennis ball texture (for advertising World Cup Tennis Tournament in Jerusalem). A cuckoo in the shape of a plane emerging from the cuckoo clock (for advertising the time accuracy of an airline company). Two Jeeps communicating in sign language (for silent car engine). A bullet shaped car (for fast car). Conclusion: creative machines are possible in many applications!

23 Future plans Detailed neural model of creating novel words; comparison of human and machine-generated results; this is a well defined domain, experimental research using EEG, ERP, fMRI and other techniques are possible. Understanding of real reasons for decision making. Imagination and filtering – creativity in other domains, although conceptual structures, knowledge representation and filtering are harder to implement. Creation of semantic memory from Internet and collaborative sources. World championships in word games? Applications of neurocognitive approach to NLP: creation of novel brand names; creativity templates in various domains; word games, puzzles, educational tests in computers and phones; hope to reach human level competence in language understanding.

24 DREAM modules Natural input modules Cognitive functions Affective functions Web/text/ databases interface Behavior control Control of devices Talking head Text to speech NLP functions Specialized agents DREAM project is focused on perception (visual, auditory, text inputs), cognitive functions (reasoning based on perceptions), natural language communication in well defined contexts, real time control of the simulated/physical head.

25 Thank you for lending your ears... Google: Duch => Papers

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