Publication 7209

Mascolo M. F. & Fischer K. W. (2005) Constructivist theories. In: Hopkins B., Barr R. G., Michel G. F. & Rochat P. (eds.) The Cambridge encyclopedia of child development. Cambridge University Press, New York: 49–73. Fulltext at
Constructivism is the philosophical and scientific position that knowledge arises through a process of active construction. From this view, knowledge structures are neither innate properties of the mind nor are they passively transmitted to individuals by experience. In this entry, we outline recent advances in constructivist models of cognitive development, beginning by analyzing the origins of constructivist developmental theory in the seminal writings of Piaget. We then examine the ways in which theoretical and empirical challenges to his theory have resulted in the elaboration of a more powerful constructivism in the form of neoPiagetian and systems models of human development.

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