Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Mandelbrot Set

A Mandelbrot set is an intricate geometric shape, where if any region of the set is magnified, new and intricate details appear. Every time you focus further on one section, more detail shows up. This will continue ad infinitum, as you investigate further. It was originally postulated to help explain fractals.

Another way of looking at this is as follows. When "simple" laws govern systems with large numbers of variables, the underlying order may become obscured by our inability to track every component. Simple rules can produce incredibly complex effects. Mandelbrot sets relate philosophically to the study of cognitive science, in that some theories in the field may need to be more complex in order to be fully validated, while other topics may be simpler than they first appear. This seems to be the case in the study of groups of agencies and agents in Minsky's (1985) The Society of Mind.


  1. Cohen J., & Stewart, I. (1994). The collapse of chaos. New York: Viking Press.
  2. Minsky, M. (1985). The society of mind. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster