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The Innate MindStructure and Contents$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179675.001.0001

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Language and the Development of Spatial Reasoning *

Language and the Development of Spatial Reasoning *

Chapter:
(p.89) 6 Language and the Development of Spatial Reasoning*
Source:
The Innate Mind
Author(s):

Anna Shusterman

Elizabeth Spelke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179675.003.0006

This chapter argues that human and animal minds indeed depend on a collection of domain-specific, task-specific, and encapsulated cognitive systems: on a set of cognitive ‘modules’ in Fodor's sense. It also argues that human and animal minds are endowed with domain-general, central systems that orchestrate the information delivered by core knowledge systems. The chapter begins by reviewing the literature on spatial reorientation in animals and in young children, arguing that spatial reorientation bears the hallmarks of core knowledge and of modularity. It then considers studies of older children and adults, arguing that human spatial representations change qualitatively over development and show capacities not found in any other species. Finally, it presents two new experiments that investigate the role of emerging spatial language in uniquely human navigation performance.

Keywords:   human mind, animal mind, cognitive system, cognitive modules, spatial reorientation, spatial language, navigation

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