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Eight Reasons to Doubt the Existence of a Geometric Module

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Eight Reasons to Doubt the Existence of a Geometric Module. Nora S. Newcombe Temple University. When Sociobiology Met Cognitive Psychology. Modular mind Adaptive pressure works to select specific mental abilities Massive modularity Core knowledge Innateness - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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  • Eight Reasons to Doubt the Existence of a Geometric ModuleNora S. NewcombeTemple University

  • When Sociobiology Met Cognitive PsychologyModular mindAdaptive pressure works to select specific mental abilities Massive modularity Core knowledgeInnatenessThese evolutionarily-selected modules are (naturally) innately specified

  • Swiss Army Knife AnalogyThe Swiss Army knife is a flexible tool [because] it is a bundle of tools, each well-designed for solving a different problem scissors for cutting paper, corkscrew for opening wine, toothpick for cleaning teeth..Similarly, the human mind contains a large number of programs, each well-designed for solving a different adaptive problem: choosing a good mate, caring for children, foraging for food, avoiding predators, navigating a landscape, forming coalitions, trading, defending ones family against aggression, and so onLeda Cosmides

  • Innately-Specified Modules Have ProliferatedLanguage acquisitionFace processingTheory of mindCheater detectionGeometric module

  • What Do We Mean By Modularity?Modular cognitive systems are domain specific, innately specified, hard wired, autonomous, and not assembled. Fodor (1983, p. 37)

  • Neural Specialization Does Not Entail Encapsulated ModularityBrain areas generally need to talk to one another to support a function

  • Case Study of the Geometric ModuleA representation of geometric information that guides reorientation following disorientationThat does NOT use nongeometric information even when doing so would be advantageous

  • Hermer & Spelke (1996): Search Rates for ToddlersWhite RoomFCRNFCRNC = CorrectN = NearR = ReversalF = Far.08.49.31.12.10.39.39.12

  • Hermer & Spelke: Search Rates for AdultsWhite RoomFCRNFCRNC = CorrectN = NearR = ReversalF = Far0.04.960.02.41.570

  • Language-as-Bridge HypothesisAdults may have a further system of representation that is uniquely human and that emerges over the course of development. This system may connect to many other systems of representation, regardless of their domain-specific content. Its operation may be governed by rules and principles allowing the arbitrary combination of information from distinct, domain-specific sources.The language faculty appears to have all the right properties to serve as this uniquely human combinatorial system of representation. --Hermer-Vazquez, Spelke & Katsnelson (1999, p. 34)

  • Support for Role of LanguageTransition to feature use at 6 years is correlated with productive use of left and rightTraining left and right leads to feature useAdults who do linguistic shadowing task concurrently do not use features

  • Adaptive Combination ModelsVarious sources of spatial informationEgo-referenced: response learning and path integrationAllo-referenced: cue learning, place learningWeighting depends on SalienceCertainty and variability with which information is encodedValidityprobabilities of finding objects given use of the information, derived from interaction with the environmentWeighting develops both in real time and in developmental time

  • Point 1: Evidence Against Encapsulation from Non-Human AnimalsMonkeys use colored walls and large but not small features (a sensible choice given likely cue validity)Other speciesChickensPigeonsFishSee Cheng & Newcombe, PBR 2005, for review

  • 46 %

    4.7 %

    3.3 %

    46 %

    75 %

    3.5 %

    1.5 %

    20 %

    Without cue

    With cue

  • Point 2: Featural Cues Are Only Neglected in Tiny RoomsCheng & Newcombe(Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2005)Note: Perfect Performance = 100

  • Point 3: Use of Features Varies for Several ReasonsActivityActive motion focuses spatial attentionActive motion leads to remodeling of hippocampal firingNature of landmarksMore distal landmarks provide more useful and ecologically valid information Larger landmarks may be more salient and more likely to be stable

  • Room Within Room StudiesSmall waist-high enclosure (Hermer-Spelke size) centered within large room (Learmonth et al. size)Large room had one colored wallChildren stay within small enclosureLearmonth, Newcombe, Sheridan & Jones (Developmental Science, 2008)

  • How the Data Fit An Adaptive Combination ModelDistal Action Target Proximal Age at SuccessFeature? Possible? to Feature?Hermer-Spelke No No Yes 6 years

    Learmonth Yes Yes Yes 18 monthset al. (earliest tested)

    Study 1 Yes No No 6 years Studies 2 & 3 Yes No Yes 4 years

  • How the Data Fit An Adaptive Combination ModelDistal Action Target Proximal Age at SuccessFeature? Possible? to Feature?Hermer-Spelke No No Yes 6 years

    Learmonth Yes Yes Yes 18 monthset al. (earliest tested)

    Study 1 Yes No No 6 years Studies 2 & 3 Yes No Yes 4 years

  • How the Data Fit An Adaptive Combination ModelDistal Action Target Proximal Age at SuccessFeature? Possible? to Feature?Hermer-Spelke No No Yes 6 years

    Learmonth Yes Yes Yes 18 monthset al. (earliest tested)

    Study 1 Yes No No 6 years Studies 2 & 3 Yes No Yes 4 years

  • Point 4: Featural Cue Use is Easy to Get When LackingLearmonth, Newcombe, Sheridan & Jones (Developmental Science, 2008)Similar finding: Twyman, Spetch & Friedman, (Developmental Psychology, 2007)

    Chart1

    51.0467.71

    26.0420.83

    11.464.17

    11.467.29

    1st 4 Trials

    2nd 4 Trials

    Box Selection

    % of possible instances this box was selected

    Room within Room Switch-No Pen: 3 Years

    Sheet1

    subjnumsubjectagefirstboxsecondboxcorrect1opp1near1far1correct2opp2near2far2correctotalopptotalneartotalfartotal

    1147.8212211031005210

    2343.9243211030105120

    3442.3613220031005300

    4639.123121021013311

    sum76301131118941

    %43.7537.518.75068.7518.756.256.2556.2528.12512.53.125

    1836.234121031004310

    2938.8941301021105120

    31037.132210130015102

    41136.9224400040008000

    51239.231400031007100

    61338.6221121030104220

    71439.5232201130015012

    81736.1612210131005201

    91840.2324301040007010

    101941.8243220040006200

    112036.6931021111111322

    122241.0321400040008000

    132342.5242310031006200

    142439.2613100321013104

    152644.9941121031004310

    162739.3342220012103410

    172839.7514220031005300

    182938.334210122004301

    193037.3324211022004310

    203144.1314121021013311

    213246.3642121031004310

    223338.1612201112013212

    233439.6231300140007001

    243537.5212120121013302

    sum49251111652047114451518

    %51.0426.0411.4611.4667.7120.834.177.2959.3823.447.819.38

    CorrectOppositeNearFar

    1st 4 Trials51.0426.0411.4611.46

    2nd 4 Trials67.7120.834.177.29

    Total59.37523.43757.81259.375

    Sheet1

    000

    000

    000

    000

    1st 4 Trials

    2nd 4 Trials

    Total

    Box Selection

    % of possible instances this box was selected

    Room within Room Switch-No Pen: 3 Years

    Sheet2

    Sheet3

  • FCRN.06.33.52.10Point 5: Spatial as Well as Verbal ShadowingReduces Feature Use in Adults

    Ratliff & Newcombe, Cognitive Psychology, 2007Also--Hupbach et al., Spatial Cognition & Computation, 2007Usual results with white room and with colored wall but no concurrent task

  • Point 6: New Evidence from Conflict ParadigmsWhen features are moved, subjects must choose a location based either on features or on geometryThese paradigms reveal the fundamental similarity of human adults to children and non-human animalsRatliff & Newcombe, Psychological Science, 2008

  • Conflict Procedure There are four hiding spots in this room, one at each corner

  • I will hide a pair of keys in the same place every time

  • 4 practice trials (target & landmark stable)Leave the roomBrief delay ~ 2 minutes (drawing task)While the participant waits outside, the experimenter goes back into the room to move the landmark clockwise to the next adjacent wallTwo conflict test trialsConflict Procedure

  • Where are the keys? ADBC

  • Experiment 1N = 32 TRAINING (Between Subjects)TESTINGDirect Landmark Indirect Landmark E GG LEG GSmall room (4x6ft) n = 8Small room (4x6ft) n = 8Large room (8x12ft) n = 8Large room (8x12ft) n = 8(Landmark = L, Geometrically appropriate = G, and Error = E)

  • Adaptive Combination PredictionsWhen forced to choose one cue over the other (geometry vs. features), conflict test will result in a room size effectDistal landmarks are more valid in the larger roomCorners related to feature cues will be more likely to be chosen in the larger roomGeometric cues are more salient in the smaller roomGeometric cues will be chosen most often in the smaller room

  • Significant Room Size effect (p < 0.01) Geometric information guided reorientation in the small room F

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