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Cognitive Structure Triangle and Conceptions of Images, Models and Theories

This is basically an extract translated from my three essays on EE-Forum.org[1]

Cognitive (Triangle) Cycle

A brain can be considered as an information system. It gains raw data on feeling, makes some theories and programs on thinking, then executes the programs to take actions. there is a simple model for the cognition on brain, so-called feeling-thinking-action cognitive triangle[2]. The order is significant (not as Action-Thinking-Feeling) and it needs to emphasize the dynamic characteristic of the loop, therefore, a more appropriate term may be as cognitive cycle.

Two Forms for Representation of Information

Introduced a basic assumption: there are two, and only two of the basic forms for the representation of information, that is, images and statements. The images are presentations for features; the statements are expressions in language, i. e., texts. These two forms are not mutually exclusive and often mixed together.

The images from sensory organs as the raw data of the objects, which are depicting some features such as color, odor, shape and so on. In general, the memories from sensory organs can be stored, modified and used repeatedly by a brain, but the raw data from sensory organs are not able to be directly expressed in a language. We can not rebuild a particular sensory memory by a language but only reproduce it through the same process on sensory organs. This would be called as reproducibility of sensory images (a characteristic for reproduction).

Further, the statements can be relatively divided into two kinds: the statements in fact and the statements in theory.

The statements are corresponding to the theories in Model Theory and the images corresponding to the models.

Relationships among Cognitive Elements

There are four basic elements for cognition: the sensory images, the statements in fact, the statements in theory and the cognitive objects. The relationships among the four cognitive elements as Figure 1.

Actually, sensory images and its descriptions–the statements in fact–may be combined together very closely and plays an important role in whole cognitive structure: the models of cognitive objects, which are the representatives of the real things in mind. Thus, the four basic elements can be further attributed into the three: objects, models and theories. Their relationships are also appeared as a triangle, called it cognitive structure triangle, shown as Figure 2.

The most significant essence discovered by the cognitive structure triangle, may be the dual relationship from a model to its object and relative theory. It joined together the two key theoretical bases for models in the past researches: Model Theory and Homomorphism. (that is, the homomorphic mapping between a model and its object and the satisfying relationship from the same model to some theory.)


These are some my thoughts on models and modeling, Model Theory and so on. After I posted some of the essays, I read Smith 1985 and found that it was very similar between his opinion and my thought, such as his picture (look at here) and my cognitive structure triangle, and the position of Model Theory on the left side as well. Furthermore, I think in the above description, there were perhaps some thing not included in such Smith’s opinions yet, though it may be very subtle.

Although the discussions were on the cognition and brain but my goal was always on computing. They were not academic papers, just pointed out or implied some of clues to the guys who had the same or the similar interesting or understanding on the topics.


[1] The original below:

  1. Cognitive Process Triangle, April 2010 (http://ee-forum.org/pub/ty/2010-04-p1290.html)
  2. Cognitive Structure Triangle and Conceptions of Images, Models and Theories, April 2004 (http://ee-forum.org/pub/ty/2010-04-p1341.html)
  3. Talking again about Cognitive Process (Triangle) Cycle for “Feeling-Thinking-Action”, October 2011 (http://ee-forum.org/pub/ty/2011-10-p3007.html)

[2] I have seen a few of the narratives about Cognitive Triangle as Feeling-Thinking(Thought)-Action(Do) but did not discern the original.


About TY

interested in models & modeling, software, information systems, applications & engineering for enterprises


2 thoughts on “Cognitive Structure Triangle and Conceptions of Images, Models and Theories

  1. “The statements are corresponding to the theories in Model Theory and the images corresponding to the models.”

    coool! the rest also.


    Posted by modelpractice | November 30, 2011, 03:55


  1. Pingback: An Architecture model for Cognition, Information Systems as well… « THINK IN MODELS - December 17, 2011

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