The Development of Thought

The Development of Thought

The Development of Thought

The Development of Thought

Excerpt

The main aim of this work is to offer a new synthesis of the field of cognitive development insofar as it relates to the development of thinking. In order to do this I have first tried to distil out those features of existing formulations that are theoretically sound and are consistent with the data base. These are then used as the building blocks of a new theory, which also incorporates certain basic concepts from general cognitive psychology. The accumulated data base on several key topics in cognitive development is then presented and analysed, in order to see whether the proposed theory is consistent with it.

The resulting formulation is based on the theory of representational or symbolic processes. This in turn leads to cognitive developmental stages being redefined in a way that I believe is more consistent with the existing data base than were previous stage theories. The theory offered is also designed to be more understandable and more testable than is Piaget's, although every effort has been made to retain those aspects of Piaget's contribution that can be seen as valid in the light of the last few decades of research. The theory around which the book is organized also has things to say about a number of phenomena, such as learning set acquisition, which have traditionally belonged with neo-behaviouristic approaches. Thus the formulation that is offered attempts to cover a wider data base than have most other theories of cognitive development.

Although the research data base has been examined in order to test whether the proposed theoretical formulation is consistent with it, I have tried to review each topic in a way that would be of interest irrespective of whether the reader accepts the overall theory. Each topic incorporates numerous theoretical, methodological and empirical issues that are interesting irrespective of one's own . . .

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