Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Clark & Thornton: Trading spaces

Extracting higher-level relationships in connectionist models

Gary F. Marcus a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003


Connectionist networks excel at extracting statistical regularities but have trouble extracting higher-order relationships. Clark & Thornton suggest that a solution to this problem might come from Elman (1993), but I argue that the success of Elman's single recurrent network is illusory, and show that it cannot in fact represent abstract relationships that can be generalized to novel instances, undermining Clark & Thornton's key arguments.