Key word "nativist"
Gash H. (2010) Nativist Constraints on Cognitive Processes Called into Question. Review of “Neoconstructivism. The New Science of Cognitive Development” edited by Scott Johnson. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009. Constructivist Foundations 5(2): 104-105. https://constructivist.info/5/2/104
Nativist Constraints on Cognitive Processes Called into Question. Review of “Neoconstructivism. The New Science of Cognitive Development” edited by Scott Johnson. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009.
Constructivist Foundations 5(2): 104-105.
Fulltext at https://constructivist.info/5/2/104
Upshot: Recent research on young children’s cognitive development supports the viability of a neoconstructivist model of learning. These new approaches support a bottom-up account of knowledge acquisition that incorporates many constructivist principles and does not support top-down nativist models.
Haith M. M. (2013) Emergent constructivism has its place – Among other possibilities. Cognitive Development 2(28): 144–147.
Haith M. M.
Emergent constructivism has its place – Among other possibilities.
Cognitive Development 2(28): 144–147.
Commentary on “Stepping off the pendulum: Why only an action-based approach can transcend the nativist–empiricist debate” by J. Allen and M. Bickhard.
Matthews P. S. C. (1997) Problems with Piagetian constructivism. Science & Education 6(1–2): 105–119.
Matthews P. S. C.
Problems with Piagetian constructivism.
Science & Education 6(1–2): 105–119.
Evidence that demonstrates the inadequacy of Piagetian constructivist theory to explain the complexities of children’s early learning is discussed. An alternative, nativist theory of cognition is outlined and implications for science education briefly considered.
Moshman D. & Timmons M. (1982) The construction of logical necessity. Human Development 25(5): 309–323.
Moshman D. & Timmons M.
The construction of logical necessity.
Human Development 25(5): 309–323.
Empiricist and nativist approaches to understanding the origins and development of conceptions of logical necessity are proposed and criticized. A constructivist alternative is proposed, incorporating contemporary ideas regarding the role of structure, mechanisms of development, the metacognitive basis of stages, and the relation of development and learning. Three stages are postulated. The first involves the development of various classification and seriation behaviors. The second (concrete) stage is marked by a reflection on these behaviors, involving the construction of implicit concepts of necessity which, given the truth of certain premises, require certain conclusions. Finally, the third (formal) stage is marked by a further metacognitive reconstruction of logical necessity on a plane still further removed from empirical truth, thereby yielding the concept of inferential validity. Relevant research is briefly reviewed.
Newcombe N. S. (2013) Cognitive development: Changing views of cognitive change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 4(5): 479–491.
Newcombe N. S.
Cognitive development: Changing views of cognitive change.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 4(5): 479–491.
The aim of research in cognitive development is to understand the origins of human knowledge and to provide an account of cognitive change. Theorizing regarding these issues is rooted in the nativist–empiricist debate. This article traces changing views in that debate, from the beginnings of psychology, through the cognitive revolution, Piaget, and alternatives to Piaget, including nativism, Vygotskyan theory, and information-processing work. The last section presents current theorizing and outlines various modern versions of nativism, constructivism, and empiricism
Quartz S. (1999) The constructivist brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3(2): 48–57. https://cepa.info/4706
The constructivist brain.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3(2): 48–57.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4706
How do the representations underlying cognitive skills emerge? It is becoming increasingly apparent that answering this question requires integration of neural, cognitive and computational perspectives. Results from this integrative approach resonate with Piaget’s central constructivist themes, thus converging on a ‘neural constructivist’ approach to development, which itself rests on two major research developments. First, accumulating neural evidence for developmental plasticity makes nativist proposals increasingly untenable. Instead, the evidence suggests that cortical development involves the progressive elaboration of neural circuits in which experience-dependent neural growth mechanisms act alongside intrinsic developmental processes to construct the representations underlying mature skills. Second, new research involving constructivist neural networks is elucidating the dynamic interaction between environmentally derived neural activity and developmental mechanisms. Recent neurodevelopmental studies further accord with Piaget’s themes, supporting the view of human cortical development as a protracted period of hierarchical-representation construction. Combining constructive growth algorithms with the hierarchical construction of cortical regions suggests that cortical development involves a cascade of increasingly complex representations. Thus, protracted cortical development, while occurring at the expense of increased vulnerability and parental investment, appears to be a powerful and flexible strategy for constructing the representations underlying cognition.
Ratcliff M. J. (2018) A Temporal Puzzle: Metamorphosis of the Body in Piaget’s Early Writings. Constructivist Foundations 14(1): 73–81. https://cepa.info/5592
Ratcliff M. J.
A Temporal Puzzle: Metamorphosis of the Body in Piaget’s Early Writings.
Constructivist Foundations 14(1): 73–81.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5592
Context: This target article combats some psychologists’ and phenomenologists’ blind stereotyped vision of Piaget’s ideas on early development and the growing ignorance of his works. Problem: The article tackles the issue of the body in Piaget’s manuscript works on infants in comparison to the contemporary theories endorsed by Gallagher. Method: I analyze an unknown source, Jean and Valentine Piaget’s manuscript notebooks on their first child, and compare it to the contemporary theories. Results: The method revealed itself as largely heuristic. Piaget built new relevant categories during the investigation, such as observing the child’s gaze, and the main category of observation was longitudinal paths of behavior. He carefully observed transformations in the specific behaviors of each path that led to stabilize imitation in infants and he discussed self-cognition of the body, i.e., the child’s knowledge of her body, as either a curious object or her own body. Implications: Comparing the contemporary nativist approach on early competences and Gallagher’s phenomenology to Piaget’s constructivist approach highlighted the contrast between several categories, competence versus paths and age versus processes. The investigation detected implicit epistemologies relying on priority given to age and competences over processes and path in the nativist approach, while Piaget adopted an explicit epistemology prioritizing processes and path over age and competence. A strong implication is the need to look below the surface and go beyond stereotypes towards a complex metaphor for qualifying Piaget’s works. Against stereotypes and reification, Piaget worked mainly on paths and processes and the best metaphor to capture his conception of development is to conceive it as a temporal puzzle with new fitting pieces that shape the human subject as a multilinked network of paths. Constructivist Content: Analyzing the founder of constructivism’s early works with a historical constructivist method led me to propose the temporal puzzle as a cognitive metaphor that synthesizes his early-development constructivist approach, both methodological and theoretical. Moreover, since Piaget’s experimental system has never been reproduced as a whole and early development follows an implicit epistemology that is the opposite of Piaget’s, his constructivist multiple longitudinal approach remains unchallenged.
Xu F. & Griffiths T. (2011) Probabilistic models of cognitive development: Towards a rational constructivist approach to the study of learning and development. Cognition 120(3): 299–301.
Xu F. & Griffiths T.
Probabilistic models of cognitive development: Towards a rational constructivist approach to the study of learning and development.
Cognition 120(3): 299–301.
Excerpt: The papers that appear in this special issue bring together researchers working on probabilistic models of cognition with developmental psychologists, to consider how “rational constructivism” could shed light on some of the challenges of understanding cognitive development. Our goal in collecting these papers together is to illustrate that this new approach to the study of cognitive and language development has already shown a lot of promise – both computational modeling and empirical work have opened up new directions for research, and have contributed to theoretical and empirical advances in understanding learning and inference from infancy to adulthood. The rational constructivist view embodies two key ideas: one is the commitment that the learning mechanisms that best characterize learning and development from infants to adults are a set of rational, inferential, and statistical mechanisms that underlies probabilistic models of cognition. The application of these domain-general mechanisms may give rise to domain-specific knowledge. The second is to call into question both the nativist characterization of innate conceptual primitives (e.g., is object or agent an innate concept?), and the empiricist’s characterization of a newborn infant with nothing but perceptual primitives and associative learning mechanisms. It is an open question how best to think about the initial state of a human learner. Perhaps in addition to a set of perceptual (proto-conceptual?) primitives, the infant also has the capacity to represent variables, to track individuals, to form categories and higher-order units through statistical analyses, and maybe even the representational capacity for logical operators such as and/or/all/some – these capacities enable the infant to acquire more complex concepts and new learning biases. As such, this view departs from the traditional Piagetian view of development in at least two ways – development does not progress through stages, driven by qualitative changes in the child’s logical capacities, and development does not start with sensory-motor primitives and a lack of differentiation between the child and the world. Instead, the construction of new concepts and new learning biases is driven by rational inferential learning processes. At the moment, there is by no means any consensus on these issues. With further empirical and computational work, a more detailed explication will emerge.
Xu F., Dewar K. & Perfors A. (2009) Induction, overhypotheses, and the shape bias: Some arguments and evidence for rational constructivism. In: Hood B. M. & Santos L. (eds.) The origins of object knowledge. Oxford University Press, New York NY: 263–284. https://cepa.info/6397
Xu F., Dewar K. & Perfors A.
Induction, overhypotheses, and the shape bias: Some arguments and evidence for rational constructivism.
In: Hood B. M. & Santos L. (eds.) The origins of object knowledge. Oxford University Press, New York NY: 263–284.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/6397
The authors in this chapter focus on a case study of how object representations in infants interact with early word learning, particularly the nature of the so-called ‘shape bias’. A short review of the controversies in this subfield is used to illustrate the two dominant views of cognitive development, which can be roughly classified as nativist or empiricist. Also presented are theoretical arguments and new empirical evidence for a rational constructivist view of cognitive development. The authors’ goal in this chapter is to argue for a new approach to the study of cognitive development, one that is strongly committed to both innate concepts and representations, as well as powerful inductive learning mechanisms. In addition to discussing the ‘shape bias’ and how it relates to object representations, generality of the approach is briefly discussed.
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