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Domain Specificity

  • By: Michael T. Ullman, Jarrad A. G. Lum & Gina Conti-Ramsden
  • In: Encyclopedia of Language Development
  • Edited by: Patricia J. Brooks & Vera Kempe
  • Subject:Language Development, Language & Communication

Domain specificity in cognitive science refers to the specificity of the substrates of a particular cognitive domain, such as language. That is, if language is domain specific, at least certain of its underpinnings in the mind or brain are dedicated to language (or aspects of language) and subserve nothing else. In contrast, if language is not domain specific, this means that its substrates underlie not just language but other domains as well. This is usually referred to as domain generality or domain independence. More generally, the question as to whether or in what ways language (or other aspects of cognition) might or might not be domain specific is referred to as the issue of domain specificity. It is difficult to demonstrate domain specificity, and ...

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