Cognition 56 (3):271-279 (1995)

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.
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DOI 10.1016/0010-0277(94)00656-6
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