The Role of Social Experience in Cognitive Development
This paper argues that since humans are social animals (Aristotle) their level of survival depends to a great extent on problem solving thinking for social adaptation. Human social adaptation is markedly different from that of higher animals with which man shares so much behavior. This difference arose in humans in their evolutionary history at the point when they developed the power of thought and reflection. This power allows humans to be better problem solvers than higher animals and to plan their futures. Central to this future is knowledge and its uses of different kinds of problem solving. A model of cognitive development for problem solving that pays special attention to a form of social adaptation is put forward. This model is called distancing (Sigel, 1970) and it proposes a class of verbal and nonverbal interactions with young children, which are hypothesized as contributing to representational thought which in turn facilitates social adaptation.
KeywordsCognitive Development Social Experience High Animal Social Adaptation Advanced Mode
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