Foundations Of Cognitive Science


Veridicality is the extent to which a knowledge structure accurately reflects the information environment it represents (Walsh, Henderson, & Deighton, 1988). This is a construct of interest as our understanding of the relationship between knowledge structures and information environments is weak. In particular, the optimal level of veridicality is problematic. The value of a knowledge structure lies in its ability to simplify an environment, yet simplification increases the probability of a false characterisation and hence error. The study of veridicality is concerned with investigating the consequences of this trade off between accuracy and efficiency.

Of course, the notion of veridicality depends on the tacit view that knowledge structures exist. In direct perception (Gibson, 1979) and its modern successor, radical embodied cognitive science (Chemero, 2009), knowledge structures vanish -- and so too does the notion of veridicality!


  1. Chemero, A. (2009). Radical Embodied Cognitive Science. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  2. Gibson, J. J. (1979). The Ecological Approach To Visual Perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
  3. Walsh, J.P., Henderson, C.M. & Deighton, J. (1988). Negotiated belief structures and decision performance: An empirical investigation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 42, 194-216

(Revised February 2010)