Blackboards in the brain

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (1):81-81 (2006)
Although van der Velde's de Kamps's (vdV&dK) attempt to put syntactic processing into a broader context of combinatorial cognition is promising, their coverage of neuroscientific evidence is disappointing. Neither their case against binding by temporal coherence nor their arguments against recurrent neural networks are compelling. As an alternative, vdV&dK propose a blackboard model that is based on the assumption of special processors (e.g., lexical versus grammatical), but evidence from the cognitive neuroscience of language, which is, overall, less than supportive of such special processors, is not considered. As a consequence, vdV&dK's may be a clever model of syntactic processing, but it remains unclear how much we can learn from it with regard to biologically based human language.
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