Botanist Francis Darwin noted that "In science, the credit goes to the man who convinces the world not the man to whom the idea first occurs." The characteristic aspects of knowledge are highly influenced by the volume of individuals who conceive it to be true or false. Psychologists have a consensus that information and knowledge are domains that cannot be touched or seen, but their positive and negative outcomes can be realized. The domain-general versus domain specificity learning mechanisms is one of the contemporary critical analysis topics. This paper compares and contrasts the domain-general and domain-specific word and syntax learning mechanisms
Domain-general learning mechanisms formulates that human beings are born with innate capabilities that facilitate learning complex aspects in spite of the mass of knowledge being learned. According to Dwyer, Hogan, and Stewart, general domain theory is also termed as critical thinking and can be applied in any field on earth (99). In most cases, critical thinking uses reasoning and problem-solving tactics in making sound judgments on uncertainty. On the other hand, according to Sweller, the domain-specific learning mechanism, which is also referred to as modularity theory postulate that humankind learn various types of knowledge and information differently and there are certain variations within the brain for various specific domains (102). The human brain has a varied scope and knowledge frameworks that encompass domain-general and domain-specific that can be said to be correct and justified. A correct general domain must correlate with the way matter, people, processes and events exist and behave towards the internal and external environment. Therefore, a general domain that is incorrect does not meet the measures to be referred to as knowledge. Furthermore, to be termed as domain-general, knowledge must not only be true but must also be justified. It should be noted that there is no consensus among psychologists on the aspect of correct and incorrect modalities of measuring general domain aspects. The topic has been controversial for many generations. The main paradigm has been on the realm of essential ideals necessary and sufficient for a correct domain-general to be justified.
Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson, postulates that according to modularity mechanisms theorists, the specific domains are independent in order to facilitate the acquisition of one skill at a time such as word, syntax or mathematics (101). The specific domain does not facilitate cumulative processes hence no beneficial roles in learning other skills. The new knowledge and information are processed in the human brain. Nevertheless, according to general domain theory, though the data may be synthesized in the same manner and the same regions of the brain, the different general domains function interdependently. It should be noted that the skills already gained may help gain other types of skills. According to the proponents of the general domain theory such as and Maddux, and Winsted, the knowledge already gained helps in building other domains after some time which contribute to our great knowledge base (121). Knowledge is a phenomenon that is said to be true and can be justified. Psychologists formulate that information conceived by an individual is abstract and invisible. The domain-general and domain-specific learning mechanisms and have no generally accepted measurement formalities.
Proponents of general domain theory include psychologists Jean Piaget and Charles Spearman. According to Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson, psychologist Jean Piaget formulated that persons have broad knowledge which is based on their past experiences particularly early childhood experiences (89). The noble work of Psychologist Charles Spearman led to the evolution and further refining of the theory of general cognitive ability. Charles Spearman carried out numerous studies on children and observed that children gain different scores on varied topics which are directly related. He concluded that the various correlations are connected to a common brain mechanism that is essential for all mental processes. Our perception and full comprehension of the surrounding assists in determining our understanding of the numerous factors that determine our cognitive processes. According to Maddux, and Winsted, 2015, comprehending our internal and external stimuli is spearheaded by general domains through various and mental activities (118). According to Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson, the full application of aspects pertaining to general domain influence our character (126). Furthermore, cognitive psychologists deal with various linguistic topics such as morphology, language history, language and culture among other linguistic fields. Children learn language through various aspects such as games and sports. Care should be taken while choosing the appropriate game and sport for children in order to promote growth and development of the child`s physical, social and cognitive domains such as word and syntax learning mechanisms.
According to Shah et al., the domain-general learning mechanisms explains the various correlations in the different cognitive abilities (105). However, psychologists generally disagree on the origin of the positive correlations. The work of psychologist Spearman was further developed by later psychologists such as Raymond B. Cartel who formulated that human intelligence can be further divided into other broad categories. According to the psychologists, word and syntax learning mechanisms were cognitive based processes.
Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson explain that domain-general theories word and syntax learning mechanisms stress systematic analysis of the unconscious psychological, linguistic parameters that have a great impact on human linguistic ability during the formative years (141). He proponents of general domain theory such as Jean Piaget and Charles Spearman postulate that early childhood activities and experiences provide systematic and positive expectations for learning word and syntax. According to Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson, proper language development is gained after dealing with the internal environment of the child particularly solving the internal issues in the child`s mental capacity appropriate word and syntax learning sessions (113).
According to Huffman, Dowdell, and Sanderson, the domain-specific theory focuses more on building clear goals for attaining language competence then strengthening language use and application (142). The young ones are trained on the acceptable word and syntax learning mechanisms and changing the improperly developed language levels to acceptable language levels. Moreover, creating a well conducive environment for word syntax learning mechanisms for the young ones is paramount.
Mandler, observes that the domain-specific approach encourages child educators such as guardians and teachers to monitor children as they learn language skills since they are unable to control themselves (76). There is a need to formulate language rules and regulation and then focus on clear and positive expectations which will finally lead to well-based consequences. Monitoring the word and syntax learning processes of the young ones by engaging them to know the appropriate application of word and syntax aspects is essential. If language educators control and apply proper domain-specific theory tenets, effective and appropriate language competency results will be attained.
According to Broderick, and Blewit, domain-specific theory lays more stress on training and experience of the various language user (93). Experience in word and syntax use help support the domain specificity as opposed to general specificity. The theory proposes that to acquire competency in language skills such as word and syntax is not easy and that expert use is not easy to attain. One must spend years of training and have experience in the specific language aspect such as word and syntax. The aspect of experience opposes the general domain theory which proposes that language acquisition is innate. The domain specifies theory further proposes that language experts conduct researches at various levels with special reference to a specific word and syntax learning mechanisms. Furthermore, language experts have more data connected to word and syntax. The language professional for example will employ appropriate language styles in using syntax and further portray a high level of personal motivation in expressing usage of syntax as opposed to the inexperienced and untrained linguist.
Domain-general word and syntax learning mechanisms formulate that humans are born with innate capabilities that facilitate learning complex knowledge aspects. On the other hand, modularity theory advocates that humankind learn various types of knowledge and information differently and there are certain variations within the brain for various specific domains. All in all, an appropriate combination of domain-general and domain-specific ideals leads to effective word and syntax learning mechanisms.
Broderick, Patricia C., and Pamela Blewitt. The life span: Human development for helping professionals. 4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2015.
Dwyer, Christopher P., Michael J. Hogan, and Ian Stewart. "An integrated critical thinking framework for the 21st century." Thinking Skills and Creativity 12 (2014): 43-52.
Huffman, K. Dowdell, K. and Sanderson, C. Psychology in action. (12th Ed.), Wiley, 2018.
Maddux, James E., and Barbara A. Winstead. Psychopathology: Foundations for a contemporary understanding (4th Ed). Routledge, 2015.
Mandler, George. "The limit of mental structures." The Journal of general psychology 140.4 (2013): 243-250.
Shah, Syed Ahmad, et al. A text Book of psychopathology. RED SHINE Publication. Pvt. Ltd, 2017.
Sweller, John. "Cognitive load theory: Recent theoretical advances." (2010).
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