Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Neo-associativism: Limited learning transfer without binding symbol representations

Steven Phillips a1
a1 Neuroscience Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan


Perruchet & Vinter claim that with the additional capacity to determine whether two arbitrary stimuli are the same or different, their association-based PARSER model is sufficient to account for learning transfer. This claim overstates the generalization capacity of perceptual versus nonperceptual (symbolic) relational processes. An example shows why some types of learning transfer also require the capacity to bind arbitrary representations to nonperceptual relational symbols.