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Book Sections Year : 2016

Acting up: An approach to the study of cognitive development


Despite decades of research, we lack a comprehensive framework to study and explain cognitive development. The emerging " paradigm " of action-based cognition implies that cognitive development is an active rather than a passive, automatic, and self-paced maturational process. Importantly, " active " refers to both sensorimotor activity (in the narrow sense) as well as to autonomous exploration (e.g., as found in active perception or active learning). How does this emphasis on action affect our understanding of cog-nitive development? Can an action-based approach provide a much-needed integrative theory of cognitive development? This chapter reviews key factors that infl uence development (including sensorimo-tor skills as well as genetic, social, and cultural factors) and their associated brain mechanisms. Discussion focuses on how these factors can be incorporated into a comprehensive action-based framework. Challenges are highlighted for future research (e.g., problems associated with explaining higher-level cognitive abilities and devising novel experimental methodologies). Although still in its infancy, an action-based approach to cognitive development holds promise to improve scientifi c understanding of cognitive development and to impact education and technology.
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hal-01404503 , version 1 (28-11-2016)


  • HAL Id : hal-01404503 , version 1


Giovanni Pezzulo, Gottfried Vosgerau, Uta F Frith, Antonia Hamilton, Cecilia Heyes, et al.. Acting up: An approach to the study of cognitive development. Andreas K. Engel; Karl J. Friston; Danica Kragic. The Pragmatic Turn: Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science, 18, MIT Press Scholarship Online, 2016, Strüngmann Forum Reports. ⟨hal-01404503⟩


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