3-System Theory of the Cognitive Brain: A Post-Piagetian Approach to Cognitive Development, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

3-System Theory of the Cognitive Brain

A Post-Piagetian Approach to Cognitive Development, 1st Edition

By Olivier Houdé


134 pages

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3-System Theory of the Cognitive Brain: A Post-Piagetian Approach to Cognitive Development puts forward Olivier Houdé’s 3-System theory of the cognitive brain, based on numerous post-Piagetian psychological and brain imaging data acquired from children and adults. This ground-breaking theory simultaneously anchors itself in a deep understanding of the history of psychology and fuels current debates on thinking, reasoning and cognitive development.

Spanning the long-term history of psychology, from Plato and Aristotle to more current experimental psychology, this pioneering work goes beyond the approaches of Kahneman (i.e. System 1 theory) and Piaget (i.e. System 2 theory) to put forward a theory in which the inhibitory-control system (i.e. System 3) takes precedence. Houdé argues that the brain contains a third control system located in the prefrontal cortex which is dedicated to inhibiting Kahneman’s intuitive heuristics system and activating Piaget’s logical algorithms system anywhere in the brain on a case-by-case basis, depending on the goal and context of the task. 3-System Theory of the Cognitive Brain simultaneously explains the early logical abilities discovered in babies, the dynamic, strategic and non-linear process of cognitive development in children, and the fast heuristics and biases observed in adults. Houdé considers the exciting implications of this theory on neuro-education using examples from the classroom.

This book is essential reading for students and researchers in cognitive development and education, child psychology, reasoning and neurosciences.

Table of Contents

Preface: One, two or three systems of thinking in human beings?

Part 1 Chapter 1: From Psyche to the Logos – Ancient times

Part 1 Chapter 2: Faith, Truth and Reasoning in The Middle Ages

Part 1 Chapter 3: The inconstancy of the human being: from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

Part 1 Chapter 4: Towards a science of psychology: The nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Part 2: Introduction

Part 2 Chapter 5: Jean Piaget’s theory or the logical system

Part 2 Chapter 6: The dual-system theories: System 1 (intuition) and System 2 (logic)

Part 2 Chapter 7: Inhibiting in order to reason: System 3 (executive)

Part 2 Chapter 8: The paradox of reasoning in infants




About the Author

Olivier Houdé is Professor of Psychology at the University of Paris and the honorary director of the Laboratory for the Psychology of Child Development and Education (LaPsyDÉ) at the Sorbonne. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Dictionary of Cognitive Science (Routledge, 2004) and the co-Editor-in-Chief of The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Development (forthcoming).

About the Series

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Essays in Developmental Psychology is designed to meet the need for rapid publication of brief volumes in developmental psychology.

The series defines developmental psychology in its broadest terms and covers such topics as social development, cognitive development, developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience, language development, learning difficulties, developmental psychopathology and applied issues.

Each volume in the series makes a conceptual contribution to the topic by reviewing and synthesizing the existing research literature, by advancing theory in the area, or by some combination of these missions.

Authors in this series provide an overview of their own highly successful research program, but they also include an assessment of current knowledge and identification of possible future trends in research.

Each book is a self-contained unit supplying the advanced reader with a coherent review of important research as well as its context, theoretical grounding and implications.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child