Below is a tree-representation of an action sequencing hierarchy, taken from Fischmeister et al 2016 (Journal Cortex). enter image description here

Could anyone explain (the paper does not) by which rationale the different nodes (levels) in the tree are deemed to be either Head or Preparation?

Also, the tree seems ill-formed as the nodes at the second level from the top do not have a title/description, but only their Head/Preparation function specified.

  • 1
    I assume you mean the article "Self-similarity and recursion as default modes in human cognition". The tree is given as an example of a hierarchy, along with a "linguistic" hierarchy and a "social hierarchy", but there is no discussion of any of those 3 trees within the article text. So my guess is that the trees are shown as informal examples. I agree with you that it is not well-formed. Jan 2, 2018 at 22:42
  • That is indeed the article, and the trees are indeed incidental to the topic of the article, and not explained. I am myself not well familiar with syntax trees so thought that a simple example such as the coffee-making one should do a good job at explaining how the node relationships are inferred - but how this tree was made seems arbitrary to me, again, unless I am ignorant about some basic aspect of syntax trees more generally...
    – z8080
    Jan 2, 2018 at 22:49
  • Heads should hang down vertically, because there is only one head and one vertical line from a tree node, while there are many non-heads and many non-verticals. (Just kidding.)
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 3, 2018 at 3:02
  • If you're talking about syntactic heads, there are different, competing criteria for defining 'heads' that lead to rather different results; see the discussion in Zwicky (1985). Jan 3, 2018 at 3:12
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because while concerning trees and head nodes, it does not appear to be directly concerned with linguistics itself.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 3, 2018 at 14:35


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