Emerging Minds

Emerging Minds : The Process of Change in Children's Thinking

4.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 ways of 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 so that 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?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 156.7 x 235 x 16.3mm | 437.93g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • line figures, tables
  • 0195126637
  • 9780195126631
  • 1,379,052

Review quote

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, Dept. of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign *
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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 Development
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