Narrow and broad faculties in system 1 and system 2: Toward consensus in the debate on modularity

Norbert Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on learning, the structure of attained knowledge, and the use of this competence in performance has repeatedly returned to longstanding proposals about how to better understand proficient use of knowledge and how humans acquire it. The following article takes up an exchange between Chiappe & Gardner (2011) and Barrett & Kurzban (2012) on the concept of modularity, one of these proposals. Despite the disagreements expressed, a careful reading of the contributions shows that they also left us with lines of discussion that will eventually sort out the relevant hypotheses and integrate findings for future research. These lines of work will contribute to a clearer understanding of an updated version of the modularity hypothesis that is also compatible with evolutionary science perspectives on learning. How might the categories of domain-specific and domain-general correspond to the distinction between competence and performance and to that of narrow faculty and broad faculty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Evolution of language
  • Faculty of language
  • Functional specialization
  • Intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Narrow and broad faculties in system 1 and system 2: Toward consensus in the debate on modularity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this