Thinking through the implications of neural reuse for the additive factors method

AbstractOne method for uncovering the subprocesses of mental processes is the “Additive Factors Method” (AFM). The AFM uses reaction time data from factorial experiments to infer the presence of separate processing stages. This paper investigates the conceptual status of the AFM. It argues that one of the AFM’s underlying assumptions is problematic in light of recent developments in cognitive neuroscience. Discussion begins by laying out the basic logic of the AFM, followed by an analysis of the challenge presented by neural reuse. Following this, implications are analysed and avenues of response considered.

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