2Nativism Main question: what is the cognitive code? Infant is born with complete world knowledgeInfants countInfants have a concept of objectsInfants have physics conceptsInfants have language
3Nativism Evidence for the claim of complete world knowledge Youngsters learn an extremely complex system (language) effortlesslyYoungsters learn an extremely complex system (language) in a short amount of timeYoungsters do not need instruction to learn their mother tongue
4NativismDo youngsters who are born deaf can learn an impoverished language at a level that is higher than the level they hear?Youngsters develop Creole from pidginInfants do not hear grammar; they hear a string of words and infer the syntactic rules language (impoverishment of the stimulus)Infants often hear ungrammatical sentences, yet they learn the grammar
5Nativism: Learning Paradox Fodor’s learning paradox: one learns something only if one knows it in advanceTo learn a language you have to know that language in advanceWhat you know is at a higher level than what you learn
6Nativism In the case of language, infants are born with: a universal grammar (UG) - a data base of grammar language acquisition device (LAD) - hypothesis tester
7NativismIf the child is born with a LAD and no UG, he doesn’t have anything to hypothesize onIf the child is born with a UG and no LAD, he cannot hypothesize about the language
8Nativism The UG is the cognitive code. Unique to humansUniversal for humansIf one can describe it, one has cracked the cognitive code.
9Nativism Relations between learning and development Only learning (deductive)No developmentSimilar to classical behaviorism
10Nativism: Language Acquisition Device hypothesize the grammar in the language you are exposed tosee if the hypothesis fits the grammarif yes, continue with the hypothesisif no, make a new hypothesis
11NativismIf that is how children learn language, it is impossible, in principle, to develop to a higher levelHow can you hypothesize something that is not already there?Nativists say you cannot
12NativismAs a consequence, it is best to build the most powerful system so that it is there in infancy
13Argument between Piaget and Chomsky CHOMSKY’S POINT:Chomsky: One cannot construct more powerful structures because hypothesis testing cannot take place at a level that is higher than one’s highest levele.g., conservation: a child cannot hypothesize conservation if he is at the intuitive stage
14Argument between Piaget and Chomsky Chomsky: One cannot construct more powerful structures because hypothesis testing cannot take place at a level that is higher than one’s highest levelFodor’s learning paradoxe.g., conservation: a child cannot hypothesize conservation if he is at the intuitive stage
15Piaget RebuttalPiaget: I don’t have to accept hypothesis testing as the mechanism for learningI believe children learn and develop through disequilibrium
16Piaget Rebuttal I can describe learning and development in Child development (ontogeny)History of disciplines (Piaget & Garcia; Kuhn)My system allows me to describe two disparate developments: ontogeny and historical development
17Piaget RebuttalYou, the nativists cannot describe the development of disciplines in history in terms of innate modules within humansBottom line:I can describe two developments and you can describe oneI don’t believe the description you give to language acquisition
18Nativism: Modularity1. Encapsulation - it is impossible to interfere with the inner workings of a module. 2. Unconscious - it is difficult or impossible to reflect on the operations of module. 3. Speed - modules are very fast. 4. Shallow outputs - modules provide limited output, without information about the intervening steps that led to that output.
19Nativism: Modularity5. Obligatory firing - modules operate reflexively, providing predetermined outputs for predetermined inputs regardless of the context. 6. Ontogenetic universals - modules develop in a characteristic sequence. 7. Localization - modules are mediated by dedicated neural systems.
20Nativism: Modularity8. Pathological universals - modules breakdown in characteristic fashion following insult to the system. 9. Domain specificity - as discussed above.