Domain specificity (also known as domain-specific learning) is a concept in cognitive science that suggests that some cognitive functions are solely responsible for individual specific functions and not multiple ones. Different areas of cognition are referred to as domains.
Examples of domains include language, visuospatial ability, executive functioning (planning, abstract reasoning, focusing, problem solving). Domain specificity proposes that there are underlying mechanisms and frameworks that are solely dedicated to only one specific cognitive domain. These cognitive underpinnings are responsible for only one cognitive domain and aren’t involved in the functioning of other domains. Domain specificity suggests that cognitive functions are highly specialized and there is a proposed evolutionary component to these cognitive underpinnings.
An example of domain specificity is Noam Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device which is the innate biological ability of humans to acquire and develop language. He theorized that all humans share a mechanism which allows us to comprehend, develop, and use language like no other animal. This mechanism is responsible for the domain of language. The opposing concept to this domain generality or independence which proposes that some cognitive functions are shared and used by multiple domains.