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Modelling the Developing Mind: From Structure to Change

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Document pages: 77 pages

Abstract: This paper presents a theory of cognitive change. The theory assumes that the fundamental causes of cognitive change reside in the architecture of mind. Thus, the architecture of mind as specified by the theory is described first. It is assumed that the mind is a three-level universe involving (1) a processing system that constrains processing potentials, (2) a set of specialized capacity systems that guide understanding of different reality and knowledge domains, and (3) a hypecognitive system that monitors and controls the functioning of all other systems. The paper then specifies the types of change that may occur in cognitive development (changes within the levels of mind, changes in the relations between structures across levels, changes in the efficiency of a structure) and a series of general (e.g., metarepresentation) and more specific mechanisms (e.g., bridging, interweaving, and fusion) that bring the changes about. It is argued that different types of change require different mechanisms. Finally, a general model of the nature of cognitive development is offered. The relations between the theory proposed in the paper and other theories and research in cognitive development and cognitive neuroscience is discussed throughout the paper.

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