What Does Connectionism Mean?

Connectionism is a particular philosophy applied to artificial intelligence and other technology advances; it perceives the human mind as being linked to complex interconnected networks. Many attribute the term to Donald Hebbs, a data scientist active in the 1940s.


Techopedia Explains Connectionism

Connectionism asserts that very complex behavioral and mental activity can be explained by analyzing the complex interplay of simple units, as a primary example, neurons in the brain. In the 1940s, Hebbs suggested through research that human learning essentially consists of strengthening connections between certain sets of neurons.

One of the biggest applications of connectionism in technology is the building of artificial neural networks. As neural networks advance, scientists promoting connectionism are contending that the results will help to simulate human cognitive ability. If that's true, it will constitute an enormous breakthrough in artificial intelligence, and revolutionize the ways that people think about sentient technologies. However, in the past, advances in artificial intelligence have been limited by the idea that the human brain is too complex to effectively model with the technologies currently available.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.