Constructive Feedback for Modularity

Michael Spivey

in The Continuity of Mind

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195170788
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786831 | DOI:
 Constructive Feedback for Modularity

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This chapter addresses the varying definitions of “modularity” assumed by different fields (e.g., philosophy, psychology, neuroscience), and focuses on evaluating Fodor's notion of information encapsulation. It is shown that attentional instructions can modulate low-level visual processes, and that visual input of a moving face can modulate the auditory perception of a phoneme. In fact, cortical regions in the ferret's brain that normally receive auditory input can learn to accommodate incoming synapses from the optic tract. Thus, although it is clear that various anatomical regions of the brain are somewhat specialized for specific perceptual abilities, the fluidity and ubiquity with which they interact in real-time indicates that cognitive processes, such as spatial attention, visual event recognition, and speech perception, exhibit not modularity but instead something that might be called distribularity.

Keywords: distribularity; information encapsulation; attentional instructions; phoneme; spatial attention; visual event recognition; speech perception

Chapter.  9888 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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