Modularity in Cognition
AbstractModularity has been the subject of intense debate in the cognitive sciences for more than 2 decades. In some cases, misunderstandings have impeded conceptual progress. Here the authors identify arguments about modularity that either have been abandoned or were never held by proponents of modular views of the mind. The authors review arguments that purport to undermine modularity, with particular attention on cognitive architecture, development, genetics, and evolution. The authors propose that modularity, cleanly defined, provides a useful framework for directing research and resolving debates about individual cognitive systems and the nature of human evolved cognition. Modularity is a fundamental property of living things at every level of organization; it might prove indispensable for understanding the structure of the mind as well.