One of the central problems in the study of modern cognition is the degree to which higher cognition is modularized: that is, how much are higher functions carried out by domain-specific, specialized, cognitive subsystems, rather than a highly general cognitive learning and inferring device? To date, ideas and proposals about modularity have been best developed in the study of vision and grammar. In the present volume, the usefulness of approaches employing modularity and domain specificity are further explored in papers on the development of biological thought, word meaning, symbols, and emotional development, as well as in the core area of grammar itself, by leading researchers in these fields. The volume also contains an introduction to some basic ideas and concepts in the study of modularity and domain-specificity, and some critical discussion of the overall problems of the modularity constraints approach to analyzing development.
"The book is full of ideas that challenge the reader…"
"Overall, the book would be [a] valuable addition to advanced classes on cognitive development. Most of the chapters are excellent reviews of the work of researchers who have written at length elsewhere; some chapters even present some new data. In sum, this volume is a useful primer on the constraints perspectives."
Contents: Preface. M. Maratsos, Constraints, Modules, and Domain Specificity: An Introduction. L.A. Petitto, Modularity and Constraints in Early Lexical Acquisition: Evidence From Children's Early Language and Gestures. E.M. Markman, Constraints on Word Learning: Speculations About Their Nature, Origins, and Domain Specificity. F.C. Keil, The Origins of an Autonomous Biology. C. Malatesta-Magai, B. Dorval, Language, Affect, and Social Order. T. Bever, The Logical and Extrinsic Sources of Modularity. J. Goodnow, Beyond Modules. R.S. Siegler, What Do Developmental Psychologists Really Want?