Beyond the Anomaly: Where Piaget and Bruner Meet


The aim of this work is to focus on a basic concept in Brunerian narrative theory, that of violation of canonicity, showing how it relates to other basic concepts of cognitive theories such as anomaly, expectation and relationship between constancy and variability. To reach this aim, we will firstly discuss the Piagetian theory, in particular regarding the way in which the child deals with new and interesting events moved from the need to face and produce “spectacles interessantes” by means of experiencing the violation of canonicity. We will also briefly consider some results of neurosciences studies pointing out that the constancy-variability issue is at the base of human development. Secondly, we will show the convergence between Piagetian theory and Brunerian theory of narration, producing some examples of how violation of canonicity can occur in children and adults.

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    We want here thank Eleonora Bartoli, Roberta della Croce, Benedetta Elmi, Debora Pascuzzi for their contribution to the research carried over by our laboratory of narrative processes


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Andrea Smorti has received a Research Grant from Regione Toscana POR 2014–2020.

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Fioretti, C., Smorti, A. Beyond the Anomaly: Where Piaget and Bruner Meet. Integr. psych. behav. 53, 694–706 (2019).

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  • Norm
  • Violation
  • Surprise
  • Narrative development