Emerging Minds

Emerging Minds : Process of Change in Children's Thinking

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How do children acquire the vast array of concepts, strategies, and skills that distinguish the thinking of infants and toddlers from that of preschoolers, older children, and adolescents? In this new book, Robert Siegler addresses these and other fundamental questions about children's thinking. Previous theories have tended to depict cognitive development much like a staircase. At an early age, children think in one way; as they get older, they step up to increasingly higher waysof thinking. Siegler proposes that viewing the development within an evolutionary framework is more useful than a staircase model. The evolution of species depends on mechanisms for generating variability, for choosing adaptively among the variants, and for preserving the lessons of past experience sothat successful variants become increasingly prevalent. The development of children's thinking appears to depend on mechanisms to fulfill these same functions. Siegler's theory is consistent with a great deal of evidence. It unifies phenomena from such areas as problem solving, reasoning, and memory, and reveals commonalities in the thinking of people of all ages. Most important, it leads to valuable insights regarding a basic question about children's thinking asked by cognitive,developmental, and educational psychologists: How does change occur?show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 152.4 x 241.3 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 44 line figures, bibliography
  • 0195077873
  • 9780195077872

Table of contents

1. Whose Children are we Talking About?; 2. Evolution and Cognitive Development; 3. Cognitive Variability: The Ubiquity of Multiplicity; 4. Strategic Development: Trudging up the Staircase or Swimming with the Tide; 5. The Adaptivity of Multiplicity; 6. Formal Models of Strategy Choice or Plasterers and Professors; 7. How Children Generate New Ways of Thinking; 8. A New Agenda for Cognitive Developmentshow more

Review quote

"Siegler proposes a paradigmatic shift in the field of child development, away from the study of 'essences' and toward the study of change. . . . The results are intriguing and perhaps revolutionary--must-reading for professionals in the field of cognition."--Choice"This is one of those rare books that promises to change the way that psychologists view the central problem of developmental psychology. . .Siegler provides a cogent and convincing argument that variability is a constant in thought at all levels and provides the key to cutting through to the problem of cognitive change. In addition to providing a wide range of examples showing the centrality of adaptive variability in children's thinking at all levels, Siegler describes a methodology for describing developmental change as it progresses. Few will be able to read it without considering how to apply this model and methods to their own domain of interest. This book will serve as a handbook for anyone who wants to take up the challenge of taking development seriously."--Kevin Miller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign"In Emerging Minds, Siegler designs a clear, thorough, and well-defined map for the new paradigm...Siegler shows the prevalence of variability and its eminent role in development. Other researchers adhering to process-oriented approaches also highlight the importance of variability, but Siegler's account is outstanding in its thoroughness and scope. Siegler reviews years of research, numerous domains of study, research done by him and many others, and populations involving the whole age range from infancy to adulthood. He shows that variability prevails not only between domains, as domain specificity advocates have claimed, but also within a domain (both across children and in a single child)...In addition, he provides the reader with an extensive set of future questions, outlines directions for further research within the new terrain, and designs a new agenda for cognitive development."--Human Development"Digital clocks are the reason that small children now say things that nobody else does, like 'it's 2:58' instead of 'it's 3 o'clock, ' or 'it's 7:43' instead of 'it's time for bed.' They say those things because, thanks to digital clocks, a child who can read numerals can tell you what time it is. But, cautions Robert Seigler [i.e. Siegler], that's not the same thing as telling time. Telling time involves learning new concepts--the relationship between minutes and hours, the way that hours progress. That learning doesn't happen quickly or early and it probably doesn't happen with a digital clock. 'Typically, children first learn to tell the hours, then the half-hours, ' said Seigler [sic], author of 'Emerging Minds' . . . and 'Children's Thinking' . . . He is a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. 'That typically happens in second grade, and a lot of children are able to do that long before anything else. The quarter-hours come next.'"--Deseret Newsshow more

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