From: Hale, Pippa (
Date: Fri May 24 1996 - 13:32:14 BST

25. What is modularity?

The actual word "module" is used differently by different people.
Neuroscientists use it to discuss the fact that the brain is structured
with cells and layers that divide the processing of information as it
enters the brain.

Jerry Fodor wrote a book which he believed described modularity. In
this it explained that a module, in cognitive science, is a specialised
organ within the brain that handles only it own specialised information
and it is genetically specified. The information is usually related
only to a specific species. An example of a module, given by Fodor, is
the human language.

Fodor specified that nine criteria must be met to define modules as
cognitive systems. Five of which define the way modules process
information, three are for the biological status (to distinguish between
learned habits and behavioural systems). The other is domain
specificity, which is the fact that the module only deals with one type
of information.

Each module within the brain receives external information indirectly.
The information is first transformed so that the specific module can
interpret it. Each module then produces information for the central
processing. Modules are believed to be unintelligent and inflexible.

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