Shultz, T. R., & Takane, Y. (2007). Rule following and rule use in the balance-scale task. Cognition, 103, 460-472.



Quinlan et al. (this issue) use Latent Class Analysis (LCA) to criticize a connectionist model of development on the balance-scale task, arguing that LCA shows that this model fails to capture a torque rule and exhibits rules that children do not. In this rejoinder we focus on the latter problem, noting the tendency of LCA to find small, unreliable, and difficult-to-interpret classes. This tendency is documented in network and synthetic simulations and in psychological research, and statistical reasons for finding such unreliable classes are discussed. We recommend that LCA should be used with care, and argue that its small and unreliable classes should be discounted. Further, we note that a preoccupation with diagnosing rules ignores important phenomena that rules do not account for. Finally, we conjecture that simple extensions of the network model should be able to achieve torque-rule performance.


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