40 Years of Cognitive Architectures: Core Cognitive Abilities and Applications

Iuliia Kotseruba, John K. Tsotsos
A Wordle visualization of existing cognitive architectures (including those covered in this survey). Size and color reflect how often each architecture has been featured in previous surveys.


In this paper we present a broad overview of the last 40 years of research on cognitive architectures. Although the number of existing architectures is nearing several hundred, most of the existing surveys do not reflect this growth and focus on a handful of well-established architectures. Thus, in this survey we wanted to shift the focus towards a more inclusive and high-level overview of the research on cognitive architectures. Our final set of 84 architectures includes 49 that are still actively developed, and borrow from a diverse set of disciplines, spanning areas from psychoanalysis to neuroscience. To keep the length of this paper within reasonable limits we discuss only the core cognitive abilities, such as perception, attention mechanisms, action selection, memory, learning and reasoning. In order to assess the breadth of practical applications of cognitive architectures we gathered information on over 900 practical projects implemented using the cognitive architectures in our list.
We use various visualization techniques to highlight overall trends in the development of the field. In addition to summarizing the current state-of-the-art in the cognitive architecture research, this survey describes a variety of methods and ideas that have been tried and their relative success in modeling human cognitive abilities, as well as which aspects of cognitive behavior need more research with respect to their mechanistic counterparts and thus can further inform how cognitive science might progress.

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Iuliia Kotseruba, John K. Tsotsos
40 Years of Cognitive Architecture Research: Core Cognitive Abilities and Practical Applications
Artificial Intelligence Review (2018), pp 1-78

NOTE: Our paper has been accepted for publication in Artificial Intelligence Review and is available in open access.

The visualizations have been updated since the publication of the aricle and contain the most up-to-date information.

UPDATE: Added links to available source code or software for the covered cognitive architectures.