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Developmental Psychology on Dynamic Systems - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 56
Dynamic System Theory/Developmental psychology/Upton: Smith et al. (1999)(1) (…) argue that, although successful completion of the >A-not-B task does suggest a qualitative change in infant behaviour, this change in behaviour actually represents a number of quantitative changes in a complex dynamic system. The A-not-B error is explained in terms of general processes of goal-directed reaching; the erroneous reach back to A is seen as the result of a number of processes that enable the infant to look, discriminate locations, control their posture and plan a motor response. All these processes are brought together and self-organised by the task of reaching for a particular object in a particular context. In this perspective, behaviour and cognition are not separate and there are no causal mechanisms, such as an object concept, that generate a thought or behaviour. In this model what we commonly call knowledge and concepts are distributed across and embedded in behavioural processes.


1. Smith, L.B., Thelen, .E, Titzer, R. and McLin, D. (1999) Knowing in the context of acting: the task dynamics of the A-not-B error. Psychological Review, 106(2): 235–60. Available online at www.indiana.edu/~cogdev/labwork/SmithThelen1999.pdf (accessed 12 March 2011).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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