Contributions to Information Integration Theory - Vol. 3

Contributions to Information Integration Theory - Vol. 3

Contributions to Information Integration Theory - Vol. 3

Contributions to Information Integration Theory - Vol. 3

Synopsis

The theory of information integration provides a unified, general approach to the three disciplines of cognitive, social, and developmental psychology. Each of these volumes illustrates how the concepts and methods of this experimentally-grounded theory may be productively applied to core problems in one of these three disciplines.

Excerpt

The theory of information integration provides a unified, general approach to developmental psychology. It is general through its focus on the problem of information integration--that thought and action typically arise from multiple causes acting together--a problem basic to every developmental area. It is unified in its treatment of the integration problem across all these areas with a common set of concepts and methods. Indeed, the integration problem turns out to be a key to developmental theory.

A new conceptual framework for cognitive development emerges from the first four chapters, which are concerned with knowledge of the external world. Other current formulations rest squarely on assumptions about stages, for example, or about step-wise processing, that are seen to be untenable. These assumptions, unfortunately, have been self-fulfillingly built into the associated methodologies. in contrast, the functional measurement methodology of the theory of information integration does not prejudge these assumptions; they could have been verified, but they were not.

Instead, children's knowledge of the physical world requires a very different conceptual framework. One important part of these knowledge systems consists of algebraic integration rules. These algebraic rules are schemas, a singular exception to the prevailing vagueness of schema concepts. Aside from their intrinsic interest, they have unique analytical power.

The same conceptual framework reappears in the following chapter on moral-social development This conceptual unity appears under the surface difference in content because the basic problem of integration is the same. the unity of the mind is incorporated in unified theory.

The physical and moral-social worlds do have one important difference. Much knowledge of the physical world can be derived from perceptual-motor experience of the solitary child, whereas moral-social knowledge is derivative from society. the integration schemas, however, provide a measurement capability for personal moral-social values and thereby a means for social analysis. This is the focus of the final chapter.

The final chapter takes up family life and personal design: experimental analysis within the experiential framework of individual persons. the family has first importance as the prime domain of everyday thought and action, and as the womb and cradle of moral-social knowledge systems. the experiments to date have been exploratory, limited to wife-husband interaction. This work shows promise of general applicability, however, not only to moral-social development, but also to experimental sociology.

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