Cognitive penetrability, rationality and restricted simulation

Stephen Stich, Shaun B Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Heal (1996a) maintains that evidence of cognitive penetrability doesn't determine whether stimulation theory or theory theory wins. Given the wide variety of mechanisms and processes that get called 'simulation', we argue that it's not useful to ask 'who wins?'. The label 'simulation' picks out no natural or theoretically interesting category. We propose a more fine-grained taxonomy and argue that some processes that have been labelled 'simulation', e.g., 'actual-situation-simulation', clearly do exist, while other processes labelled 'simulation', e.g., 'pretence-driven-off-line-simulation' are quite controversial. We do concede that evidence of cognitive penetrability isn't decisive evidence against pretence-driven-off-line-simulation. Nonetheless, advocates of pretence-driven-off-line-simulation need to provide some explanation of the experimental evidence of penetrability. We argue that Heal's suggestion that simulation is restricted to 'rational' processes is unprincipled, and we offer an alternative proposal for restricted simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-326
Number of pages30
JournalMind and Language
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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