Cross-representational interactions: Interface and overlap mechanisms
A crucial question facing cognitive science concerns the nature of conceptual representations as well as the constraints on the interactions between them. One specific question we address in this paper is what makes cross-representational interplay possible? We offer two distinct theoretical scenarios: according to the first scenario, co-activated knowledge representations interact with the help of an interface established between them via congruent activation in a mediating third-party general cognitive mechanism, e.g., attention. According to the second scenario, co-activated knowledge representations interact due to an overlap between their features, for example when they share a magnitude component. First, we make a case for cross-representational interplay based on grounded and situated theories of cognition. Second, we discuss interface-based interactions between distinct (i.e., non-overlapping) knowledge representations. Third, we discuss how co-activated representations may share their architecture via partial overlap. Finally, we outline constraints regarding the flexibility of these proposed mechanisms.