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. 2011 May;28(3-4):288-303.
doi: 10.1080/02643294.2011.609813.

What Can Individual Differences Tell Us About the Specialization of Function?

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What Can Individual Differences Tell Us About the Specialization of Function?

Cristina D Rabaglia et al. Cogn Neuropsychol. .

Abstract

Can the study of individual differences inform debates about modularity and the specialization of function? In this article, we consider the implications of a highly replicated, robust finding known as positive manifold: Individual differences in different cognitive domains tend to be positively intercorrelated. Prima facie, this fact, which has generally been interpreted as reflecting the influence of a domain-general cognitive factor, might be seen as posing a serious challenge to a strong view of modularity. Drawing on a mixture of meta-analysis and computer simulation, we show that positive manifold derives instead largely from between-task neural overlap, suggesting a potential way of reconciling individual differences with some form of modularity.

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