Those who challenge the SSSM do not necessarily dispute its view that individual differences are largely the result of upbringing. But we agree with [Brown1991] that the standard view of differences leads to the view that ``people are products of their societies or cultures; change society or culture and you change people'' or ``Society is not the product of human psychology, [the SSSM] asserts, but vice versa'' chap. 1 [Ridley1993].
Even if later behaviorism was rejected for its unwillingness to talk about internal mental life, the central holistic behaviorist view of the mind as a generalized learning device ready to learn whatever was around remains in place to this day among social scientists. It seems as if behaviorism, in its deeper sense, did not die. A willingness to talk about internal states and structures by which we learn does not signal the end of behaviorism if those internal states and and structures are themselves learned through general behaviorist learning mechanisms. B. F. Skinner himself proposed such learned internal structures in Verbal Behavior ([Skinner1957]). It is only when we take some learning structures as part of human nature that we truly take a view of the mind that is distinct from the behaviorist one.
For the learning of language this was first made abundantly clear by [Chomsky1959] in his review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior. But it is more general than that.
Results out of cognitive psychology, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, linguistics and philosophy converge on the same conclusion: A psychological architecture that consisted of nothing but equipotential, general-purpose, content-independent, or content-free mechanisms could not successfully perform the tasks the human mind is known to perform. p. 34 [Tooby and Cosmides1992]
The well known Müller-Lyer optical illusion in Figure 1 is an extreme example of something surprising about how we think and perceive which simply isn't culturally dependent or learned.
The apparent difference in length of the Mueller-Lyer figures, for example, doesn't disappear when one learns that the arrows are in fact the same size. It seems to follow that at least some of one's perceptual processes are insensitive to at least some of one's beliefs. Very much wanting the Mueller-Lyer illusion to go away doesn't make it disappear either; it seems to follow that at least some of one's perceptual processes are insensitive to at least some of one's utilities. The ecological good sense of [perceptions being somewhat insensitive to beliefs and desires] is surely self-evident. Prejudiced and wishful seeing makes for dead animals. p. 198-199 [Fodor1990a]
Figure 1: The Müller-Lyer Optical illusion: Which line is/appears longer?
Another universal--which we will discuss more of later--is cooperation among humans. A small part of that cooperation may be supported by the nonconsequential reasoning that underlies arguments like ``don't pick the flowers in the park, because what would happen if everyone did that.'' [Goldberg and Markóczy1997b] discuss this reasoning at great length and suggest that a tendency to think that way is part of human nature.