This book is the companion volume to Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development (The MIT Press, 1996), which proposed a new theoretical framework to answer the question "What does it mean to say that a behavior is innate?" The new work provides concrete illustrations—in the form of computer simulations—of properties of connectionist models that are particularly relevant to cognitive development. This enables the reader to pursue in depth some of the practical and empirical issues raised in the first book.
Rethinking Innateness asks the question, "What does it really mean to say that a behavior is innate?" The authors describe a new framework in which interactions, occurring at all levels, give rise to emergent forms and behaviors. These outcomes often may be highly constrained and universal, yet are not themselves directly contained in the genes in any domain-specific way.