Neuroplasticity, neural reuse, and the language module [article]

John Zerilli, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
2018
What conception of mental architecture can survive the evidence of neuroplasticity and neural reuse in the human brain? In particular, what sorts of modules are compatible with this evidence? I aim to show how developmental and adult neuroplasticity, as well as evidence of pervasive neural reuse, forces us to revise the standard conception of modularity and spells the end of a hardwired and dedicated language module. I argue from principles of both neural reuse and neural redundancy that
more » ... e is facilitated by a composite of modules (or module-like entities), few if any of which are likely to be linguistically special, and that neuroplasticity provides evidence that (in key respects and to an appreciable extent) few if any of them ought to be considered developmentally robust, though their development does seem to be constrained by features intrinsic to particular regions of cortex (manifesting as domain-specific predispositions or acquisition biases). In the course of doing so I articulate a schematically and neurobiologically precise framework for understanding modules and their supramodular interactions.
doi:10.25911/5d6c3c60dbf51 fatcat:5am6tlojzzgetpftfkgmplmyze