Physical Theory of
Information Processing in the Mind: Concepts and Emotions


Leonid I. Perlovsky

Air Force Research Lab., 80 Scott Dr., Hanscom AFB, MA 01731

Tel. 781-377-1728; e-mail:

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The paper discusses a possibility that a multiplicity of mind phenomena can be understood from few fundamental principles of the mind organization, which are mathematically formulated. The paper discusses the role of concepts and emotions in the information processing by the mind and identifies an “elementary thought process” in which an event (in the outside world, or inside the mind) is understood as a concept. Previous attempts in artificial intelligence at describing thought processes are briefly reviewed and their fundamental (mathematical) limitations are discussed. The role of emotional signals in overcoming these past limitations is emphasized. An elementary thought process is related to semiotical notions of signs and symbols. It is further related to understanding, imagination, intuition, and to the role of aesthetic emotions and beauty in functioning of the mind. Relationships between the mind and brain are briefly discussed. All the discussed notions are grounded in psychological data and mathematical theory, yet knowledge of mathematics is not assumed, discussions related to the mathematical theory are given conceptually, and the paper is accessible to non-mathematicians. A theory described here could possibly serve as a prolegomenon to a physical theory of mind.


keywords: mind, physics, semiotics, symbols, fuzzy dynamic logic, neural networks, emotions, concepts, intelligent systems, aesthetics, beauty

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