Is the human tendency toward musicality better thought of as the product of a specific, evolved instinct or an acquired skill? Developmental and evolutionary arguments are considered, along with issues of domain-specificity. The article also considers the question of why humans might be consistently and intensely drawn to music if musicality is not in fact the product of a specifically evolved instinct.
One of the major assumptions of John Zaller's RAS model of public opinion is that people need explicit cues from partisan elites in order to evaluate persuasive messages. This puts the public in the position of a passive audience, unable to scrutinize information or make independent decisions. However, there is evidence that people can, under some circumstances, evaluate and use information independently of elite cues. Thus, patterns of public opinion in the months before the Iraq war are inconsistent with the (...) predictions of Zaller's model. While the RAS model usually accounts for the dynamics of public opinion quite well, the situations in which it fails provide us with critical insights into the limits of elite influence. (shrink)
Although regular polysemy [e.g. producer for product (John read Dickens) or container for contents (John drank the bottle)] has been extensively studied, there has been little work on why certain polysemy patterns are more acceptable than others. We take an empirical approach to the question, in particular evaluating an account based on rules against a gradient account of polysemy that is based on various radical pragmatic theories (Fauconnier 1985; Nunberg 1995). Under the gradient approach, possible senses become more acceptable as (...) they become more closely related to a word’s default meaning, and the apparent regularity of polysemy is an artefact of having many similarly structured concepts. Using methods for measuring conceptual structure drawn from cognitive psychology, Study 1 demonstrates that a variety of metrics along which possible senses can be related to a default meaning, including conceptual centrality, cue validity and similarity, are surprisingly poor predictors of whether shifts to those senses are acceptable. Instead, sense acceptability was better explained by rule-based approaches to polysemy (e.g. Copestake & Briscoe 1995). Study 2 replicated this finding using novel word meanings in which the relatedness of possible senses was varied. However, while individual word senses were better predicted by polysemy rules than conceptual metrics, our data suggested that rules (like producer for product) had themselves arisen to mark senses that, aggregated over many similar words, were particularly closely related. (shrink)
The author, who lived in Berkeley, California during the disruptions of 1968, remembers the year as one of bad faith, though also of a sense of making history. He recalls the events of that year (and of 1964) in Berkeley, where he still lives, then moves out into related events in the rest of the world, but also into more lastingly important events in popular culture, especially popular music. He concludes by memorializing what now appears to him the most important (...) event of all, certain records broken that year in sports. (shrink)
Rogers & McClelland's (R&M's) précis represents an important effort to address key issues in concepts and categorization, but few of the simulations deliver what is promised. We argue that the models are seriously underconstrained, importantly incomplete, and psychologically implausible; more broadly, R&M dwell too heavily on the apparent successes without comparable concern for limitations already noted in the literature.
Criteria that aim to dichotomize cognition into rules and similarity are destined to fail because rules and similarity are not in genuine conflict. It is possible for a given cognitive domain to exploit rules without similarity, similarity without rules, or both (rules and similarity) at the same time.
This article is concerned with the literal and metaphoric senses in which anthropology's accumulation of knowledge through the production of ethnography on the world's peoples can be considered an archive. The relevance of this concept to ethnography has a very different past, present, and emergent associations. The Human Area Relations Files project as visionary science dependent on the making of an archive of ethnography contrasts with the uses of the past ethnographic record in the pursuit of contemporary fieldwork in a (...) so-called postmodern world. (shrink)
Connectionist networks excel at extracting statistical regularities but have trouble extracting higher-order relationships. Clark & Thornton suggest that a solution to this problem might come from Elman (1993), but I argue that the success of Elman's single recurrent network is illusory, and show that it cannot in fact represent abstract relationships that can be generalized to novel instances, undermining Clark & Thornton's key arguments.
The apparent very close similarity between the learning of the past tense by Adam and the Plunkett and Marchman model is exaggerated by several misleading comparisons--including arbitrary, unexplained changes in how graphs were plotted. The model's development differs from Adam's in three important ways: Children show a U-shaped sequence of development which does not depend on abrupt changes in input; U-shaped development in the simulation occurs only after an abrupt change in training regimen. Children overregularize vowel-change verbs more than no-change (...) verbs; the simulation overregularizes vowel-change verbs less often than no-change verbs. Children, including Adam, overregularize more than they irregularize; the simulation overregularized less than it irregularized. Interestingly, the RM model--widely criticized as being inadequate--does somewhat better, correctly overregularizing vowel-change verbs more often than no-change verbs, and overregularizing more often than it irregularizes. Although Plunkett and Marchman's (1993) state of the art model incorporated hidden layers and back-propagation, used a more realistic phonological coding scheme, and explored a broader range of parameters than Rumelhart and McClelland's model, their results are farther from psychological reality. It is unknown whether any connectionist model can mimic a child's performance without resorting to unrealistic exogenous changes in the training or input, but it is clear that adding a hidden-layer and back-propagation does not ensure a solution. (shrink)