Constructive Feedback for Modularity
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.
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