Combinatorial Structures in Language and Visual Cognition

What gives humans the unique ability to construct novel sentences from the building blocks of language? A recent article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences proposes a “neural blackboard architecture” is capable of just this.

From the article (doi: 10.1017/S0140525X06009022):

“This paper aims to show that neural “blackboard” architectures can provide an adequate theoretical basis for a neural instantiation of combinatorial cognitive structures. […] We also discuss the similarities between the neural blackboard architecture of sentence structure and neural blackboard architectures of combinatorial structures in visual cognition and visual working memory […]”

As with all main articles in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, this one is followed by extensive comment and criticism from colleagues, and finally a reply by the authors. This provides a very deep look at the article and the issues surrounding it.

An older, but freely available, version of the article is available here.

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