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December 2021

The dynamics of general developmental mechanisms: From Piaget and Vygotsky to dynamic systems models

Journal/Book: Curr Directions Psychol Sci. 2000; 9: 40 West 20Th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA. Cambridge Univ Press. 64-68.

Abstract: Dynamic systems theory conceives of development as a self-organizational process. Both complexity and order emerge as a product of elementary principles of interaction between components involved in the developmental process. This article presents a dynamic systems model based on a general dual developmental mechanism, adapted from Piaget and Vygotsky. The mechanism consists of a conservative force, further strengthening the already-consolidated level, and a progressive force consolidating internal contents and procedures at more advanced levels. It is argued that this dual mechanism constitutes one of the few basic laws of learning and change and is comparable to the laws of effect and of contiguity. Simulation studies suggest that this dual mechanism explains self-organization in developmental paths, including the emergence of discrete jumps from one equilibrium level to another. S-shaped growth, and the occurrence of co-existing levels.

Note: Article van Geert P, Univ Groningen, Heymans Inst, Grote Kruisstr 2-1, NL-9712 TS Groningen, NETHERLANDS

Keyword(s): development; dynamic systems; development trajectories; Piaget; Vygotsky

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