Symbol Use and Symbolic Representation: Developmental and Comparative Perspectives is the proceedings of a workshop held at Emory University in 2002 to discuss the difficult and age-old issue of what makes a symbol symbolic. The issue shifts towards exploring the relation between apparent symbolic behavior and actual symbolic insight on the part of the user or recipient.
The workshop discussed the pitfalls of inferring symbolic understanding from apparently symbolic behaviors and possible criteria that would enable us to ascertain when a symbol is being employed in an intentional, communicative, representational manner. Broken down into three parts, this volume:
*focuses on the factors that influence the emergence of symbolic behavior in young, typically developing children;
*turns to an examination of individual and population differences in symbolic development and the ways variability in symbol use can inform the cognitive mechanisms underlying symbolic insight; and
*explores symbolic understanding in non-human animals.
The text ends with a synthesis of recurring themes, questions, concerns, and conclusions, and offers a new perspective on the process of understanding the relation between symbol use and symbolic insight.
"…it is an excellent introduction to various themes and methodologies that indicate the future of the topic of symbol use."
Contents: Preface. Part I: Children's Use of Symbols Across Modalities. D.H. Uttal, Spatial Symbols and Spatial Thought: Cross-Cultural, Developmental, and Historical Perspectives on the Relation Between Map Use and Spatial Cognition. P. Rochat, T. Callaghan, What Drives Symbolic Development? The Case of Pictorial Comprehension and Production. J.S. DeLoache, The Pygmalion Problem in Early Symbol Use. H. Rakoczy, M. Tomasello, T. Striano, How Children Turn Objects Into Symbols: A Cultural Learning Account. Part II: Communicative Variablity Across Typical and Atypical Populations. S. Goldin-Meadow, Symbolic Communication Without a Language Model: The Starting Point for Language-Learning. D.L. Mills, B.T. Conboy, C. Paton, Do Changes in Brain Organization Reflect Shifts in Symbolic Functioning? R.A. Sevcik, M. Romski, Early Visual-Graphic Symbol Acquisition by Children With Developmental Disabilities. L.B. Adamson, R. Bakeman, D.F. Deckner, Infusing Symbols Into Joint Engagement: Developmental Themes and Variations. Part III: Nonhuman Animal Communication and Symbol Use. S. Savage-Rumbaugh, P. Segerdahl, W.M. Fields, Individual Differences in Language Competencies in Apes Resulting From Unique Rearing Conditions Imposed by Different First Epistemologies. S.A. Kuczaj, R.D. Paulos, J.A. Ramos, Imitation in Apes, Children, and Dolphins: Implications for the Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Symbolic Representation. H. Gouzoules, Monkeying Around With Symbolism: Are Vocalizations Simple Symbols… or More Like Cymbals? L.L. Namy, S.R. Waxman, Afterword: Symbols Redefined.