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 [email protected]


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.