Shultz, T. R. (2006). Constructive learning in the modeling of psychological development. In Y. Munakata & M. H. Johnson (Eds.), Processes of change in brain and cognitive development: Attention and performance XXI (pp. 61-86). Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Although many computational models of psychological development involve only learning, this paper examines the advantages of allowing artificial neural networks to grow as well as learn in such simulations. Comparisons of static and constructive network simulations of the same developmental phenomena bring this issue into clear focus. Constructive algorithms are found to be better at learning and at covering developmental stages and stage sequences. The relatively new sibling-descendant cascade-correlation algorithm (SDCC) decides whether to install each newly recruited hidden unit on the current highest layer or on a new layer. SDCC is applied to the problem of conservation acquisition in children. Results show no differences in comparison to previous conservation simulations done with standard cascade-correlation except for fewer network layers and connections with SDCC.


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