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    Connectionism, classical cognitive science and experimental psychology

    Oaksford, Mike and Chater, N. and Stenning, K. (1992) Connectionism, classical cognitive science and experimental psychology. In: Clark, A. and Lutz, R. (eds.) Connectionism in Context. Artificial Intelligence and Society. Springer, pp. 57-74. ISBN 9783540197164.

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    There has been an enduring tension in modern cognitive psychology between the computational models available and the experimental data obtained. Standard computational models have assumed the symbolic paradigm: that it is constitutive of cognitive processes that they are mediated by the manipulation of symbolic structures. Such schemes easily handle formal inferences, and memory for arbitrary symbolic material. However, context-sensitive defeasible inference and content-addressable memory retrieval have remained problematic. By contrast, in the empirical data on human memory and inference, the opposite profile is observed. Everyday mundane reasoning is both context dependent and defeasible, and yet is performed easily and naturally, whereas subjects are typically unable to perform the simplest formal reasoning task (Wason and Johnson-Laud 1972; Evans 1982). In memory, content-addressable access in knowledge-rich domains seems natural and unproblematic for human subjects, whereas people can retain only very small quantities of arbitrary material. Despite this tension between experiment and theory, Fodor and Pylyshyn (1988) have recently reaffirmed what they term the “classical symbolic paradigm”. That is, they argue that symbolic cognitive processes are autonomous from their implementation. Thus they question the relevance of connectionist theorizing for psychology, and suggest that connectionism should be viewed as a theory of implementation for autonomous classical architectures.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: Series ISSN: 1431-0856
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2016 16:54
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:26


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