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Thomas & Karmiloff-Smith (T&K-S) raise the excellent and, in retrospect, obvious point that in a dynamic learning environment where feedback is possible, we should expect networks to adapt to damage by altering details of their behavior. We should therefore not expect that developmental disorders should result in “normal” modules. The implications of this point go much further, since interprocess dependency in the brain does not rely only on learned neural connections. This argues strongly against behavioral and process-related definitions, as opposed to structural and architecture-related definitions, of mental modularity.
We provide additional support for Cowan's claim that short term memory (STM) involves a range of 3–5 tokens, on the basis of language correlational analyses. If language is at least partly learned, linguistic dependency structure should reflect properties of the cognitive components mediating learning; one such component is STM. In this view, the range over which statistical regularity extends in ordinary text would be suggestive of STM span. Our analyses of eight languages are consistent with STM span being about four chunks.