Modularity and relevance: How can a massively modular mind be flexible and context-sensitive

In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Content. Oxford University Press. pp. 53 (2004)
The claim that the human cognitive system tends to allocate resources to the processing of available inputs according to their expected relevance is at the basis of relevance theory. The main thesis of this chapter is that this allocation can be achieved without computing expected relevance. When an input meets the input condition of a given modular procedure, it gives this procedure some initial level of activation. Input-activated procedures are in competition for the energy resources that would allow them to follow their full course. What determines which of the procedures in competition get sufficient resources to trigger their full operation is the dynamics of their activation. This dynamics depend both on the prior degree of mobilisation of a modular procedure and on the activation that propagates from other active modules. It is quite conceivable also that the mobilisation of some procedures has inhibitory effects on some others. The relevance-theoretic claim is that, at every instant, this dynamics of activation provides rough physiological indicators of expected relevance. The flow of energy in the system is locally regulated by these indicators. As a result, those input-procedure combinations that have the greatest expected relevance are the more likely ones to receive sufficient energy to follow their course.
Keywords Cognition  Linguistics  Modularity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2005
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,208
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Pragmatic Choice in Conversation.Raymond W. Gibbs & Guy van Orden - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):7-20.
Classical Computationalism and the Many Problems of Cognitive Relevance.Richard Samuels - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (3):280-293.
How Automatic Are Crossmodal Correspondences?Charles Spence & Ophelia Deroy - 2013 - Consciousness and Cognition 22 (1):245-260.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Modular Architectures and Informational Encapsulation: A Dilemma.Dustin Stokes & Vincent Bergeron - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):315-38.
Simple Heuristics Meet Massive Modularity.Peter Carruthers - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Culture and Cognition. Oxford University Press.
On the Input Problem for Massive Modularity.John M. Collins - 2004 - Minds and Machines 15 (1):1-22.
Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability.Claudia Lorena García - 2007 - Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.
Is the Mind Really Modular?Jesse J. Prinz - 2006 - In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Blackwell. pp. 22--36.
Modularity and the Flexibility of Human Cognition.Eduoard Machery - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (3):263–272.
Moderately Massive Modularity.Peter Carruthers - 2003 - In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press. pp. 67-89.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

135 ( #35,491 of 2,172,663 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #325,028 of 2,172,663 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums