Learning biases

Rob Quinlan (C611417@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU)
Sat, 17 Dec 1994 13:07:36 CST

There's a new book out _Mapping the Mind_ ? (eds.) Cambridge, with
a couple papers by Tooby/Cosmides. It's not specifically ev psych, but
it discusses the cognitive theory that goes into ev psych. It looks like a
good read, but Mark Flinn tells me it's weak on nuerobiology.

I would also recommmend R. Alexander's 1989 Evolution of the Human Psyche in
Mellers and Stringer (eds.) _The Human Revolution_ Priceton. It's interesting
for its discussion of the evolution of scenario building.

We just finished an interesting thread on HBES-L about domain-specific v. domai
n-general psychological mechanisms. A couple of things emerged from that.
1. Everyone agrees that there must be some domain-general psychological
mechanisms. What they don't agree on is the importance of these. There must
alos be executive functions used in routing information between sensory organs
and specific psychological modules (and between modules).
2. The cognitive models used by ev psych are at present vague. Also, there is
almost no discussion on the nuerological basis of anything.
3. Anthros tend to have more sympathy for domain-general models and have been
reticent to get in the discussion because of the large body of literature psych
people have a command of. IMHO these models and this theory are not particular
ly difficult to grasp. If we were all up to speed on a few key works (perhaps
works digested by anthro-lers) we could proceed to some interesting speculation
on how culture fits w/ the mind we are discussing. (Perhaps this digesting
should go on back-channel.) I could also forward some of the highlights of
the HBES-L thread to interested people. There were three or four postings
that seemed to hit the high points.

Last, I would like to hear how anyone on this thread thinks culture might fit
in with this. Or I wouldn't mind hearing from someone on why this cognitive
module approach is wrong-headed.

Rob Quinlan