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Developing a domain-general framework for cognition: What is the best approach?

  • James L. McClelland (a1), David C. Plaut (a1), Stephen J. Gotts (a2) and Tiago V. Maia (a3)

We share with Anderson & Lebiere (A&L) (and with Newell before them) the goal of developing a domain-general framework for modeling cognition, and we take seriously the issue of evaluation criteria. We advocate a more focused approach than the one reflected in Newell's criteria, based on analysis of failures as well as successes of models brought into close contact with experimental data. A&L attribute the shortcomings of our parallel-distributed processing framework to a failure to acknowledge a symbolic level of thought. Our framework does acknowledge a symbolic level, contrary to their claim. What we deny is that the symbolic level is the level at which the principles of cognitive processing should be formulated. Models cast at a symbolic level are sometimes useful as high-level approximations of the underlying mechanisms of thought. The adequacy of this approximation will continue to increase as symbolic modelers continue to incorporate principles of parallel distributed processing.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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