Extended active inference: Constructing predictive cognition beyond skulls
Mind and Language
Cognitive niche construction is the process whereby organisms create and maintain cause–effect models of their niche as guides for fitness influencing behavior. Extended mind theory claims that cognitive processes extend beyond the brain to include predictable states of the world. Active inference and predictive processing in cognitive science assume that organisms embody predictive (i.e., generative) models of the world optimized by standard cognitive functions (e.g., perception, action, learning). This paper presents an active inference formulation that views cognitive niche construction as a cognitive function aimed at optimizing organisms' generative models. We call that process of optimization extended active inference.