Why let networks grow?

Thomas R. Shultz, Shreesh P. Mysore, Steven R. Quartz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines more directly how development can be conceptualized within the context of neural networks that people learn. It argues that experience-dependent architectural plasticity has been largely under-emphasized in current accounts of neural network learning. It uses the example of auditory localization in barn owls as a case study in which architectural adaptation plays a fundamental role. The presence of architectural plasticity also has consequences for models of higher-level cognitive abilities. It shows how the cascade correlation learning architecture can be used to model a broad range of developmental phenomena in children's reasoning. In particular, it argues that architectural plasticity may underlie what Piaget described as stages of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerspectives and Prospects
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191689727
ISBN (Print)9780198529934
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Architectural plasticity
  • Auditory localization
  • Barn owls
  • Cascade-correlation algorithm
  • Chomsky
  • Developmental change
  • Neural network learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

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