The neural basis of cognitive development: A constructivist manifesto

  title={The neural basis of cognitive development: A constructivist manifesto},
  author={Steven Quartz and Terrence J. Sejnowski},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={537 - 556}
How do minds emerge from developing brains? According to “neural constructivism,” the representational features of cortex are built from the dynamic interaction between neural growth mechanisms and environmentally derived neural activity. Contrary to popular selectionist models that emphasize regressive mechanisms, the neurobiological evidence suggests that this growth is a progressive increase in the representational properties of cortex. The interaction between the environment and neural… 

The constructivist brain

  • S. Quartz
  • Psychology, Biology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 1999

Précis of neuroconstructivism: how the brain constructs cognition.

It is suggested that cognitive development arises from a dynamic, contextual change in embodied neural structures leading to partial representations across multiple brain regions and timescales, in response to proactively specified physical and social environment.

Constructivist neural network models of cognitive development

It is proposed that inflectional processing, often claimed to involve qualitatively distinct mechanisms including a mental rule, is better explained by a model that operates with a single mechanism for both regular and irregular inflections but develops dual representations in a constructivist learning process.

The adaptive nature of the human neurocognitive architecture: an alternative model.

  • P. La CerraR. Bingham
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1998
It is argued that the problems inherent in the biological markets of ancestral hominids and their mammalian predecessors would have required an adaptively flexible, on-line information-processing system, and would have driven the evolution of a functionally plastic neural substrate, the neocortex, rather than a confederation of evolutionarily prespecified social cognitive adaptations.

Modelling Cognitive Development with Constructivist Neural Networks

The results show that constructivist neural networks form valid models of cognitive developmental processes and that they avoid many of the problems of fixed-architecture models.

Modeling Integration and Dissociation in Brain and Cognitive Development

A computational framework for understanding the specialization of brain functions across the hippocampus, neocortex, and basal ganglia is presented, based on computational tradeoffs that arise in neural network models.

Neurognosis, the Development of Neural Models, and the Study of the Ancient Mind

Abstract Cognitive archaeology has made great strides over the past two decades in understanding the mind, experience, practices, and cultures of ancient peoples. Much of this development is due to

Nature/nurture: Integration through constructivism?

An integral theme of the book is how evolutionary theory, including the so-calledmodern synthesis, has been used to support various ideological positions with respect to the role of biology in human affairs.

Bridging the Gap between Cognition and Developmental Neuroscience : The Example of Number Representation

  • Psychology, Biology
  • 2001
The current state of the art of developmental cognitive neuroscience is presented with respect to one example of conceptual understanding: the representation of number.

Nativism and Neurobiology: Representations, Representing, and the Continuum of Cognition

It is proposed, in the spirit of Cundall (2006), that cognition is more aptly conceived of as a continuum: the domains by which certain “representers” are constrained turn out to be innate, while many of the complex representations come from more general learning and development.



Brain imaging and cognitive neuroscience. Toward strong inference in attributing function to structure.

A conceptual framework to advance the interpretation of data describing the relationships between cognitive phenomena and brain structure activity is provided and a broad discussion about the virtues and limitations of such conclusions are discussed.

On Neural Circuits and Cognition

In the following, a current major assumption in neuroscience is challenged, the idea that a larger brain with more cells is responsible for the greater computational capacity of the human being.

Précis of The Modularity of Mind

  • J. Fodor
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1985
Abstract The Modularity of Mind proposes an alternative to the “New Look” or “interaetionist” view of cognitive architecture that has dominated several decades of cognitive science. Whereas

Modeling cognitive development with a generative connectionist algorithm

This volume is the first collection where each content chapter presents a fully implemented, self-modifying simulation of some aspect of cognitive development, and presents a set of truly "developmental" computational models -- a collection that can inform the interested researcher as well as form the basis for graduate-level courses.

Development and Plasticity of Cortical Processing Architectures

It is proposed that the cortex applies two complementary strategies to cope with the combinatorial problem posed by the astronomical number of possible relations: the analysis and representation of frequently occurring, behaviorally relevant relations by groups of cells with fixed but broadly tuned response properties; and the dynamic association of these cells into functionally coherent assemblies.

Development and plasticity of cortical processing architectures.

Connectionism and developmental theory

The article concludes that a coherent epigcnctic-developmental interpretation of PDP modelling rquires the rejection of so-called hybrid-architecture theories of human cognition.

Neocortical Expansion: An Attempt toward Relating Phylogeny and Ontogeny

  • H. Killackey
  • Biology, Psychology
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • 1990
The primary proposition put forth is that the mammalian neocortex is relatively unspecified by strict genetic means, and that this allowed the neocortex to expand and adapt to a variety of circumstances during the course of phylogeny.