DOI: 10.1111/tops.12727 ISSN: 1756-8757

Radical Collective Intelligence and the Reimagining of Cognitive Science

Nathaniel Rabb, Steven A. Sloman
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


To introduce our special issue How Minds Work: The Collective in the Individual, we propose “radical CI,” a form of collective intelligence, as a new paradigm for cognitive science. Radical CI posits that the representations and processes necessary to perform the cognitive functions that humans perform are collective entities, not encapsulated by any individual. To explain cognitive performance, it appeals to the distribution of cognitive labor on the assumption that the human project runs on countless interactions between locally acting individuals with specialized skills that each retain a small part of the relevant information. Some of the papers in the special issue appeal to radical CI to account for a variety of cognitive phenomena including memory performance, metacognition, belief updating, reasoning, and problem‐solving. Other papers focus on the cultural and institutional practices that make radical CI possible.

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