Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Dialogue on the Role of Computational Modeling in Developmental Science

  • Author(s): Simmering, Vanessa R
  • Triesch, Jochen
  • Deák, Gedeon O
  • Spencer, John P
  • et al.

All sciences use models of some variety to understand complex phenomena. In developmental sci- ence, however, modeling is mostly limited to linear, alge- braic descriptions of behavioral data. Some researchers have suggested that complex mathematical models of developmental phenomena are a viable (even necessary) tool that provide fertile ground for developing and testing theory as well as for generating new hypotheses and pre- dictions. This article explores the concerns, attitudes, and historical trends that underlie the tension between two cul- tures: one in which computational simulations of behavior are an important complement to observation and experi- mentation and another that emphasizes evidence from behavioral experiments and linear models enhanced by verbal descriptions. This tension is explored as a dialogue among three characters: Ed (Experimental Developmen- talist), Mira (Modeling Inclusive Research Advocate), and Phil (Philosopher of Science).

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View