Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture
What is the nature of human thought? A long dominant view holds that the mind is a general problem-solving device that approaches all questions in much the same way. Chomsky's theory of language, which revolutionized linguistics, challenged this claim, contending that children are primed to acquire some skills, such as language, in a manner largely independent of their ability to solve other sorts of apparently similar mental problems. In recent years, researchers in anthropology, psychology, linguistics and neuroscience have examined whether other mental skills are similarly independent. Many have concluded that much of human thought is "domain-specific." Thus, the mind is better viewed as a collection of cognitive abilities specialized to handle specific tasks than as a general problem solver. Mapping the Mind introduces a general audience to a domain-specificity perspective, by compiling a collection of essays exploring how several of these cognitive abilities are organized. This volume is appropriate as a reader for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural psychology, psychological anthropology, developmental and cognitive psychology.
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