Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives

Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives

Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives

Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives

Synopsis

"This volume contributes to discourse about repositioning situated cognition theory within the broader supporting disciplines and to resolving the problematics addressed within the book. There is a cumulative vision to this work - its theme that the notion of the individual in situated cognition theory needs to be fundamentally reformulated. No theoretical reconfiguration of the social world or social practices can overcome an individual cast in the dualist tradition. This reformulation probes the physiological, psychoanalytic, and semiotic constitution of persons. Chapter authors cover a wide range of topics related to the central themes of the book." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The shift within cognitive science to situated cognition theory embraced by some psychologists (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Greeno, 1993) and endorsed by many others (see edited volumes by Resnick, 1989; Resnick, Levine, & Teasley, 1991; Salomon, 1993) is at least as profound, philosophically and methodologically, as was the shift to cognitivism from behaviorism some 35 years prior. In the earlier shift, the exclusive focus on measurable stimuli and responses, connected only by reflex or operant conditioning, was (largely) abandoned in favor of rich descriptions of mental processes. The payoff in terms of much subtler and more variegated models of human behavior is widely accepted and applauded today.

The obvious differences between these approaches mask some of their deep commonalities. Cognitivism, like behaviorism, understands knowledge and learning as resulting from experience within a stable, objective world. Community and culture can enter into cognitivist theory only insofar as they are decomposable into discrete elements that can participate in the stable, objective realm of experience. Thus, the opportunity to explore learning and knowledge as processes that occur in a local, subjective, and socially constructed world is severely limited by both behaviorist and cognitivist paradigms. Dissatisfaction with this limitation by educators, anthropologists, psychologists, and social theorists provides the main impetus for situated cognition theory.

Most situated cognitionists also are motivated by practical concerns for education. By admitting into the psychological discourse such obvious edu-

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