Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition

Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition

Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition

Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition

Excerpt

Over the last several years, researchers from a number of disciplines have become intrigued by the reciprocal relations between cognition and social interaction. Within psychology, investigators interested in cognitive, social, and developmental processes have begun to identify important theoretical and empirical questions that bridge traditional research specialties. Such questions concern relationships between intrapersonal processes, such as memory and reasoning, and interpersonal processes, such as parent—child and peer interaction. In addition, investigators from other disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, and linguistics, have begun systematic exploration of certain relationships between cognition and social interaction.

The conceptual foundation for much current work was laid down long ago by such theorists as Mead, Vygotsky, and Piaget. Only recently, however, have researchers begun to take seriously the ideas of these important thinkers regarding socially shared cognition. Rather than seeking to understand cognitive and social processes in isolation or treating one process as context for the other, a growing number of investigators are seeking to develop conceptual schemes and methodological techniques that allow the study of thinking as sociocognitive activity.

In 1988, we conducted an interdisciplinary faculty—student seminar on socially shared cognition. In the course of that seminar, we located many interesting bodies of relevant work. However, we found no comprehensive review or collection of papers that brought together the divergent points of view that characterize this emerging field and that provided a clear agenda for future research. We decided, therefore, to organize a conference on socially shared cognition and to provide a volume of conference papers suitable for publication.

With the support of the Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association, we invited a group of scholars from psychology and related disciplines to participate in this endeavor. The conference was held in February 1989 at the Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh. The chapters of this volume are based on presentations at that conference. As the reader will discover, they present a range of thoughtful and interesting perspectives on . . .

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