Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Short Communication

Shepard's mirrors or Simon's scissors?


Peter M. Todd a1 and Gerd Gigerenzer a1
a1 Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, 14195 Berlin, Germany ptodd@mpib-berlin.mpg.de gigerenzer@mpib-berlin.mpg.de www-abc.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/users/ptodd http://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/ABC/Staff/gigerenzer/home-d.htm

Abstract

Shepard promotes the important view that evolution constructs cognitive mechanisms that work with internalized aspects of the structure of their environment. But what can this internalization mean? We contrast three views: Shepard's mirrors reflecting the world, Brunswik's lens inferring the world, and Simon's scissors exploiting the world. We argue that Simon's scissors metaphor is more appropriate for higher-order cognitive mechanisms and ask how far it can also be applied to perceptual tasks. [Barlow; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard]