The problem of multimodal concurrent serial order in behavior

Oren Kolodny, Shimon Edelman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The "problem of serial order in behavior," as formulated and discussed by Lashley (1951), is arguably more pervasive and more profound both than originally stated and than currently appreciated. We spell out two complementary aspects of what we term the generalized problem of behavior: (i) multimodality, stemming from the disparate nature of the sensorimotor variables and processes that underlie behavior, and (ii) concurrency, which reflects the parallel unfolding in time of these processes and of their asynchronous interactions. We illustrate these on a number of examples, with a special focus on language, briefly survey the computational approaches to multimodal concurrency, offer some hypotheses regarding the manner in which brains address it, and discuss some of the broader implications of these as yet unresolved issues for cognitive science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Concurrency
  • Embodied cognition
  • Events
  • Hierarchy
  • Hippocampus
  • Language
  • Lashley
  • Multidimensionality
  • Multimodality
  • Parallel computation
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Sequential behavior
  • Serial order
  • Stimulus-response
  • Superior colliculus
  • Unity of consciousness

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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