1st Edition

Interthinking: Putting talk to work

By Karen Littleton, Neil Mercer Copyright 2013
    144 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    144 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Through using spoken language, people are able to think creatively and productively together. This ability to ‘interthink’ is an important product of our evolutionary history that is just as important for our survival today. Many kinds of work activity depend on the success of groups or teams finding joint solutions to problems. Creative achievement is rarely the product of solitary endeavour, but of people working within a collective enterprise.

    Written in an accessible and jargon-free style, Interthinking: putting talk to work explores the growing body of work on how people think creatively and productively together. Challenging purely individualistic accounts of human evolution and cognition, its internationally acclaimed authors provide analyses of real-life examples of collective thinking in everyday settings including workplaces, schools, rehearsal spaces and online environments.

    The authors use socio-cultural psychology to explain the processes involved in interthinking, to explore its creative power, but also to understand why collective thinking isn’t always productive or successful. With this knowledge we can maximise the constructive benefits of our ability to interthink, and understand the best ways in which we can help young people to develop, nurture and value that capability.

    This book will be of great interest to academic researchers, postgraduates and undergraduates on Education and Psychology courses and to practicing teachers. It will also appeal to anyone with an interest in language, creativity and the role of psychology in everyday life.

    1. Understanding interthinking; 2. Talk and interthinking at work; 3. Interthinking and the performance arts; 4. Digital technology and interthinking; 5. Language and the process of thinking collectively


    Karen Littleton is Professor of Psychology in Education at The Open University, where she currently directs the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology. In 2010 she became Editor of Routledge’s Psychology in Education book series.

    Neil Mercer is Professor of Education and Chair of the Psychology and Education Group at the University of Cambridge, having previously been Professor of Language and Communications at the Open University. In 2011 he became Vice-President of the Cambridge college Hughes Hall.

    "The authors have pulled off the wonderful trick of presenting a genuinely innovative framework of understanding in a lucid, elegant manner. This is a cleverly interwoven contribution to theory and practice." - Julia Gillen, International Journal of Educational Psychology

    "Their book brings together an impressive body of work spanning 20 years to explore how people (children and adults) work together to solve problems and create new understandings, termed 'interthinking'. It is framed within sociocultural theory, has roots in Vygotsky's developmental theory and brings together culture, social interaction, language and cognition. The authors develop this account of individual development to provide what they call a 'preliminary sketch' of collective thinking in groups." - Jane Barrett, The Open University, PLAT13(2)