An integrated theory of the mind

Psychol Rev. 2004 Oct;111(4):1036-60. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.111.4.1036.


Adaptive control of thought-rational (ACT-R; J. R. Anderson & C. Lebiere, 1998) has evolved into a theory that consists of multiple modules but also explains how these modules are integrated to produce coherent cognition. The perceptual-motor modules, the goal module, and the declarative memory module are presented as examples of specialized systems in ACT-R. These modules are associated with distinct cortical regions. These modules place chunks in buffers where they can be detected by a production system that responds to patterns of information in the buffers. At any point in time, a single production rule is selected to respond to the current pattern. Subsymbolic processes serve to guide the selection of rules to fire as well as the internal operations of some modules. Much of learning involves tuning of these subsymbolic processes. A number of simple and complex empirical examples are described to illustrate how these modules function singly and in concert.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Memory
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Task Performance and Analysis