Aspects of the Development of Competence

By W. Andrew Collins; Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology | Go to book overview

The Fourteenth Annual Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology was held at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, October 18- 20, 1979. As in each of the past twelve years, the Institute of Child Development convened six outstanding developmental scholars to present their current research within the programmatic perspective in which it was conceived. Although in several recent volumes, the six contributors have been drawn from the same sub-area of developmental study, the participants in the Fourteenth Symposium represent diverse foci. They are scholars in infant physiology, early perceptual processes, cognition, language development, social relations and personality--a sampling of the vigorous and varied activity in developmental psychology.

Nevertheless, despite the intentional diversity of the invited contributions, these six papers are similar in interesting and revealing ways. Uniformly, the authors focus on the child as an active participant in the cognitive and social transactions of typical experience; they go beyond the superficial invocation of "the active organism" (which one of them rightly calls the "slogan of cognitive [and developmental] psychology") to outline specific empirical and theoretical formulations that give substance to this view of the developing child. This commonality cuts across levels of analyses from the physiological to social and personality indicators. Although it was not the purpose, nor the achievement, of the Symposium to arrive at a synthesis across these different levels, with hindsight these six chapters appear to bring together representative problems and approaches that, over the long term, may be conducive to broad reflection on fundamental psychological and developmental processes.

-vii-

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