Understanding how young children begin to make sense out of the social world has become a major concern within developmental psychology. Over the last 25 years research in this area has raised a number of questions which mirror the confluence of interests from cognitive-developmental and social-developmental psychology. The aims of this book are to consider critically the major themes and findings within this growing social-cognitive developmental research, and to present a new theoretical framework for investigating children's social cognitive skills. Beyond being the first major review of the literature in this area, this synopsis articulates why contemporary theoretical ideas (e.g. information processing, Piagetian and social interactionist) are unlikely ever to provide the conceptual basis for understanding children's participative skills.
Building upon ideas both within and beyond mainstream developmental psychology, the "eco-structural" approach advocated seeks to draw together the advantages of the ecological approach in perceptual psychology with the considerable insights of the conversational analysts, child language researchers and Goffman's analysis of social interaction. This convergence is centred around the dynamic and participatory realities of engaging in conversational contexts, the locus for acquiring social cognitive skills.
The framework provides the building blocks for models of developmental social cognition which can accommodate dynamic aspects of children's conversational skills. This book then is a review of an important area of developmental psychology, a new perspective on how we can study children's participatory social-cognitive skills and a summary of supporting research for the framework advocated.
Table of Contents
Social-Cognitive Development. Individualistic Social-Cognitive Development. Interactionist Social-Cognitive Development. Conversational Contexts: The Site for Emerging Social-Cognitive Skills. A Framework for Investigating Social-Cognitive Skills. Illustrating the Framework: Overhearing and the Development of Social-Cognitive Skills. Overhearing as "Attention Focusing." Overhearing as Conversation Monitoring. Investigating and Understanding Children's Social-Cognitive Skills: A Synopsis.
'The strength of this book is its good coverage and critical evaluations of various theoretical positions. Forrester raises many interesting points.' - Marjorie Taylor in Contemporary Psychology, 1994
'"...provides an up-to-date and concise theoretical overview and will be of particular interest to those in developmental psychology and education.' - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1993
'The overall line of argument in the first two parts is timely, wide-ranging and interesting.' - A.J. Wootton (University of York) in Journal of Child Language, 1993