Beyond the learning curve:The construction of mind
Oxford University Press
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
For years now, learning has been at the heart of research within cognitive psychology. How do we acquire new knowledge and new skills? Are the principles underlying skill acquisition unique to learning, or similar to those underlying other behaviours? Is the mental system essentially modular, or is the mental system a simple product of experience, a product that, inevitably, reflects the shape of the external world with all of its specialisms and similarities? This new book takes the view that learning is a major influence on the nature of the processes and representations that fill our minds. Throughout, the authors review and consider the areas of skill acquisition and lexical representation to illustrate the effects that practice can have on cognitive processes. They also draw parallels between theories in physical and biological domains to propose not only a new theory of mental function but also demonstrate that the mind is essentially subject to the same natural laws as the physical world. In so doing Speelman and Kirsner present a new perspective on psychology - one that identifies universal principles underlying all behaviours and one which contrasts markedly from our current focus on highly specific behaviours. Accessibly written, Beyond the Learning Curve is a thought provoking and challenging new text for students and researchers in the cognitive sciences.