Using sentence comprehension as a case study for all of cognitive science, David Townsend and Thomas Bever offer an integration of two major approaches, the symbolic-computational and the associative-connectionist. The symbolic-computational approach emphasizes the formal manipulation of symbols that underlies creative aspects of language behavior. The associative-connectionist approach captures the intuition that most behaviors consist of accumulated habits.
These essays by some of the most prominent figures in linguistics, artificial intelligence, and psychology explore the problems involved in creating a general cognitive science that will treat language, thought, and behavior in an integrated fashion. They address the fundamental questions of the relations between linguistic structures and cognitive processes, between cognitive processes and language behavior, and between language behavior and linguistic structure.