Connectionist networks and language disorders

J Commun Disord. 1994 Dec;27(4):305-23. doi: 10.1016/0021-9924(94)90020-5.


Although neuropsychological localization constitutes the principal approach to the study of language disorders, there is reason to think it may not be entirely correct. Recent anatomical studies suggest that cognitive brain functions do not localize to precise anatomical locations. Connectionist (parallel distributed processing) approaches to the study of language, which emphasize the distributed nature of computational processes, may help explain the variability found in these anatomical studies, and provide a new way to approach the neurological study of language. This combined computational and empirical method focuses on the interplay between a computational model and the appropriate neurological, neuropsychological, and speech and language data, the whole couched in connectionist mechanisms that map naturally to what is known of the neurophysiological structure of the brain. This paper introduces the concepts of connectionist modeling, with emphasis on their use in understanding language disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / complications*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Software