Neuroconstructivism: Volume 1: How the Brain Constructs Cognition

Oxford University Press UK (2007)
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Abstract

What are the processes, from conception to adulthood, that enable a single cell to grow into a sentient adult? The processes that occur along the way are so complex that any attempt to understand development necessitates a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating data from cognitive studies, computational work, and neuroimaging - an approach till now seldom taken in the study of child development. Neuroconstructivism is a major new 2 volume publication that seeks to redress this balance, presenting an integrative new framework for considering development. In the first volume, the authors review up-to-to date findings from neurobiology, brain imaging, child development, computer and robotic modelling to consider why children's thinking develops the way it does. They propose a new synthesis of development that is based on 5 key principles found to operate at many levels of descriptions. They use these principles to explain what causes a number of key developmental phenomena, including infants' interacting with objects, early social cognitive interactions, and the causes of dyslexia. The "neuroconstructivist" framework also shows how developmental disorders do not arise from selective damage to the normal cognitive system, but instead arise from developmental processes that operate under atypical constraints. How these principles work is illustrated in several case studies ranging from perceptual to social and reading development. Finally, the authors use neuroimaging, behavioural analyses, computational simulations and robotic models to provide a way of understanding the mechanisms and processes that cause development to occur.

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Mark Johnson
University of Oregon
Michael L. Thomas
University of Chicago

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