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The Social Context of Cognitive Development

By Mary Gauvain

Guilford Press – 2000 – 238 pages

Series: Guilford Series on Social and Emotional Development

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Description

Traditional approaches to cognitive development can tell us a great deal about the internal processes involved in learning. Sociocultural perspectives, on the other hand, provide valuable insights into the influences on learning of relationship and cultural variables. This volume provides a much-needed bridge between these disparate bodies of research, examining the specific processes through which children internalize the lessons learned in social contexts. The book reviews current findings on four specific domains of cognitive development-attention, memory, problem solving, and planning. The course of intellectual growth growth in each domain is described, and social factors that support or constrain it are identified. The focus throughout is on how family, peer, and community factors influence not only what a child learns, but also _how learning occurs_. Supporting her arguments with solid empirical data, the author convincingly shows how attention to sociocultural factors can productively complement more traditional avenues of investigation.

Reviews

'Gauvain has an interesting and important theory about what causes developmental changes in children, and she sets it out in her new book convincingly and with great verve.' - Peter Bryant, PhD, FRS, Oxford University, UK.

'This is an outstanding summary of the social influences on children's thinking. Gauvain weaves crosscultural and cognitive developmental research into a single tapestry that shows how children learn, remember, and solve problems in their everyday activities. She reviews major theories of cognitive development and uses activity theory as a framework to synthesize sociocognitive research. The book will be appreciated by students because it is coherent, readable, and up to date.' - Scott Paris, PhD, University of Michigan, USA.

'Gauvain manages to integrate social interactional accounts with other efforts to identify mechanisms of development, such as Piagetian and information processing approaches. She reviews relevant research as well as incorporating memoirs of notable people to illustrate varying contexts of cognitive development. This book will be a valuable supplementary text for undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, child development, and education.' - Barbara Rogoff, PhD, University of California at Santa Cruz, USA.

Contents

The Social Foundations of Cognitive Development. Introduction. Processes of Change: The "How" of Cognitive Development. The Sociocultural Context of Cognitive Development. The Development of Specific Higher Mental Functions in Social Context. Acquring Knowledge: Intersubjectivity, Joint Attention, and Social Referencing. Remembering: The Social Construction of the Past. Solving and Learning to Solve Problems in Social Context. Constructing the Future: Planning in Social Context. Conclusions and Future Directions.

Author Bio

Mary Gauvain, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Riverside.

Related Subjects

  1. Social Cognition

Name: The Social Context of Cognitive Development (Paperback)Guilford Press 
Description: By Mary Gauvain. Traditional approaches to cognitive development can tell us a great deal about the internal processes involved in learning. Sociocultural perspectives, on the other hand, provide valuable insights into the influences on learning of relationship and...
Categories: Social Cognition