The Development of Young Children's Social-Cognitive Skills

By Michael A. Forrester

© 1992 – Psychology Press

232 pages

Purchasing Options:
New in Paperback: 9780863773716
pub: 1995-02-27
US Dollars$52.95

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

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.


'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

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.

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 / General