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Surprising Science

A Human-Like Computer

CLARION is a computer program that performs the same way human subjects do in some impressive cognitive tests—not by mimicking what we think, but how we think.

When presented with a complex problem, no person knows the solution instantly. There is a problem solving process, that in the early twentieth century was officially broken down into named stages by researchers; preparation, incubation, insight, and verification. This was termed ‘stage decomposition,’ and as most theories do, it formed the basis for more theories. The stage termed ‘incubation’ was particularly hotly contested. What exactly happened during that period? Was it a time of rest for the mind? … Ron Sun and Sèbastien Hèlie didn’t want to limit themselves. They incorporated all the possible stages into the CLARION program. They then gave the model problems to solve.


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