Connectionism as metaphor: Towards an integrated, unified conception of self-system and individual difference

Morf, Carolyn C; Horvath, Stephan (2007). Connectionism as metaphor: Towards an integrated, unified conception of self-system and individual difference. Psychological inquiry, 18(2), pp. 108-113. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates 10.1080/10478400701416202

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Comments on an article by Kashima et al. (see record 2007-10111-001). In their target article Kashima and colleagues try to show how a connectionist model conceptualization of the self is best suited to capture the self's temporal and socio-culturally contextualized nature. They propose a new model and to support this model, the authors conduct computer simulations of psychological phenomena whose importance for the self has long been clear, even if not formally modeled, such as imitation, and learning of sequence and narrative. As explicated when we advocated connectionist models as a metaphor for self in Mischel and Morf (2003), we fully endorse the utility of such a metaphor, as these models have some of the processing characteristics necessary for capturing key aspects and functions of a dynamic cognitive-affective self-system. As elaborated in that chapter, we see as their principal strength that connectionist models can take account of multiple simultaneous processes without invoking a single central control. All outputs reflect a distributed pattern of activation across a large number of simple processing units, the nature of which depends on (and changes with) the connection weights between the links and the satisfaction of mutual constraints across these links (Rummelhart & McClelland, 1986). This allows a simple account for why certain input features will at times predominate, while others take over on other occasions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Morf, Carolyn and Horvath, Stephan




L. Erlbaum Associates




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:01

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:51

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Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 67997)

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