Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Quartz & Sejnowski: Cognitive development

Constructivism: Can directed mutation improve on classical neural selection?

George N. Reeke Jr. a1
a1 Laboratory of Biological Modelling, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021


Quartz & Sejnowski (Q&S) find flaws in standard theories of neural selection, which they propose to repair by introducing Lamarckian mechanisms for anatomical refinement that are analogous to directed mutation in evolution. The reversal of cause and effect that these mechanisms require is no more plausible in an explanation of cognition than it is in an explanation of evolution.