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On Simulating Neural Damage in Connectionist Networks

Guest, O; Caso, A; Cooper, RP; (2020) On Simulating Neural Damage in Connectionist Networks. Computational Brain & Behavior , 3 (3) pp. 289-321. 10.1007/s42113-020-00081-z. Green open access

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Abstract

A key strength of connectionist modelling is its ability to simulate both intact cognition and the behavioural effects of neural damage. We survey the literature, showing that models have been damaged in a variety of ways, e.g. by removing connections, by adding noise to connection weights, by scaling weights, by removing units and by adding noise to unit activations. While these different implementations of damage have often been assumed to be behaviourally equivalent, some theorists have made aetiological claims that rest on nonequivalence. They suggest that related deficits with different aetiologies might be accounted for by different forms of damage within a single model. We present two case studies that explore the effects of different forms of damage in two influential connectionist models, each of which has been applied to explain neuropsychological deficits. Our results indicate that the effect of simulated damage can indeed be sensitive to the way in which damage is implemented, particularly when the environment comprises subsets of items that differ in their statistical properties, but such effects are sensitive to relatively subtle aspects of the model's training environment. We argue that, as a consequence, substantial methodological care is required if aetiological claims about simulated neural damage are to be justified, and conclude more generally that implementation assumptions, including those concerning simulated damage, must be fully explored when evaluating models of neurological deficits, both to avoid over-extending the explanatory power of specific implementations and to ensure that reported results are replicable. Electronic Supplementary Material: The online version of this article (10.1007/s42113-020-00081-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Type: Article
Title: On Simulating Neural Damage in Connectionist Networks
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s42113-020-00081-z
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s42113-020-00081-z
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Connectionism, Connectionist cognitive neuropsychology, Methodology, Replication, Semantic cognition, Sequential action selection
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10115702
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