Chapter

Development of Representation in Childhood

Katherine Nelson

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.003.0012
Development of Representation in Childhood

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This chapter presents an overview of the concepts of representation in cognitive psychology and developmental psychology. It then discusses theories based on levels of representation and their development in childhood. The chapter begins with the function of representation in human cognition as conceptualized by cognitive psychologist and psycholinguist George Miller, who declared that language serves the representational function for humans that is otherwise served for non-language creatures. But it leaves open the question of how—if at all—representation is managed by nonhumans or by non-language using humans, such as pre-linguistic infants and very young children. These questions reflect contentious issues in cognitive science based on different computational models of symbolic processing and neural network processing. Specific alleged domains such as space, number, object knowledge, and theory of mind are integrated in the knowledge structures of the early years and serve as background to the pragmatics of everyday life, organized in terms of domains of practice.

Keywords: George Miller; representation; cognitive psychology; developmental psychology; cognition; language; childhood; cognitive science; symbolic processing; neural network processing

Chapter.  9827 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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