Magnus Johnsson

Cognitive Scientist, Computer Scientist

magnus@magnusjohnsson.se

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I am a cognitive scientist with a background in computer science, currently employed as a researcher in the Cognitive Science Group at the Department of Philosophy at Lund University. My research interests are wide, spanning computational intelligence, artificial neural networks, artificial intelligence, cognitive robotics, and the philosophy of mind.

I aim at understanding how natural cognitive systems (brains) work from a system theoretic and computational perspective. Another aim is to understand how to create and replicate cognitive mechanisms artificially while taking advantage of the insights gained while persuing the first aim. The second aim provides opportunities for novel methods and applications to solve practical problems (e.g. medical diagnosis and forecasting). Such applications could also be more composed cognitive mechanisms with, for example, multimodal perceptual as well as action abilities, and ultimately a complete artificial cognitive architecture (artificial brain). I also try to understand more about consciousness and qualia.

A research track that take up much of my time right now is focused around how the abilities of humans and other creatures to recognize actions and understand the intentions of others are implemented in the brain, and how similar abilities could be implemented in artificial systems (e.g. robots). Related to this, I do research on how to implement internal simulation in artificial systems. By internal simulation I mean the idea proposed by Germund Hesslow that when we imagine that we perceive something or do something (mental imagery), we actually activate the same brain areas in similar ways as if we actually had the perception or acted in the way we imagined.

I also do research on Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) and other kinds of machine learning, and I have invented some novel variants of the Self-Organizing Map (SOM). ANNs are very much employed in my cognitive models, but I'm also interested in ANN based applications and other applications, e.g. medical diagnosis and data mining.

A long time ago I did simulations of the re-organization of the somatosensory cortex after injuries to the nerves between the hand and the brain. This was done to get an idea about what kind of tactile stimulation should be provided after a surgical replantation of a lost hand in order to optimize the recovery. More about this here. I have also done much work on bio-inspired haptic (tactile) perception in robots, and I have designed and built some (now outdated) robots for this aim.