2 Nativism 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
3 Nativism 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
4 NativismDo 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
5 Nativism: 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
6 Nativism In the case of language, infants are born with: a universal grammar (UG) - a data base of grammar language acquisition device (LAD) - hypothesis tester
7 NativismIf 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
8 Nativism The UG is the cognitive code. Unique to humansUniversal for humansIf one can describe it, one has cracked the cognitive code.
9 Nativism Relations between learning and development Only learning (deductive)No developmentSimilar to classical behaviorism
10 Nativism: 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
11 NativismIf 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
12 NativismAs a consequence, it is best to build the most powerful system so that it is there in infancy
13 Argument 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
14 Argument 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
15 Piaget RebuttalPiaget: I don’t have to accept hypothesis testing as the mechanism for learningI believe children learn and develop through disequilibrium
16 Piaget 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
17 Piaget 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
18 Nativism: 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.
19 Nativism: 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.
20 Nativism: Modularity8. Pathological universals - modules breakdown in characteristic fashion following insult to the system. 9. Domain specificity - as discussed above.