Contributions of dynamic systems theory to cognitive development

Spencer, John P. ORCID:, Austin, Andrew and Schutte, Anne R. (2012) Contributions of dynamic systems theory to cognitive development. Cognitive Development, 27 (4). pp. 401-418. ISSN 0885-2014

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We examine the contributions of dynamic systems theory to the field of cognitive development, focusing on modeling using dynamic neural fields. After introducing central concepts of dynamic field theory (DFT), we probe empirical predictions and findings around two examples—the DFT of infant perseverative reaching that explains Piaget's A-not-B error and the DFT of spatial memory that explain changes in spatial cognition in early development. Review of the literature around these examples reveals that computational modeling is having an impact on empirical research in cognitive development; however, this impact does not extend to neural and clinical research. Moreover, there is a tendency for researchers to interpret models narrowly, anchoring them to specific tasks. We conclude on an optimistic note, encouraging both theoreticians and experimentalists to work toward a more theory-driven future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dynamic systems theory,spatial memory,perseveration,neural networks,object concept
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2015 10:00
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2022 12:31
DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2012.07.006

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