Mareschal, D., & Shultz, T. R. (1999). Development of children's seriation: A connectionist approach. Connection Science, 11, 149-186.
This paper presents a modular connectionist network model of the development of seriation (sorting) in children. The model uses the cascade-correlation generative connectionist algorithm. These cascade-correlation networks do better than existing rule-based models at developing through soft stage transitions, sorting more correctly with larger stimulus size increments, and showing variation in seriation performance within stages. However, the full generative power of cascade-correlation was not found to be a necessary component for successfully modelling the development of seriation abilities. Analysis of network weights indicates that improvements in seriation are due to continuous small changes instead of the radical restructuring suggested by Piaget. The model suggests that seriation skills are present early in development and increase in precision during later development. The required learning environment has a bias towards smaller and nearly ordered arrays. The variability characteristic of children's performance arises from sorting subsets of the total array. The model predicts better sorting moves with more array disorder, and a dissociation between which element should be moved and where it should be moved.
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