One of the paradoxes in developmental theory is the child's simultaneous intrapsychic and interpsychic development. While the child is growing in mental capacity and struggling to define self, behaviors are also being learned whose function is to integrate self into a social network, which often means that egocentric behaviors are in conflict with sociocentric ones. This theory draws upon processes that promote both individual and social growth into a unified theory of development.
A construct pertinent to almost all dimensions of psychological research, psychological distance is conceptualized as either the distance between what the learner understands and what still has to be understood (intrapsychic), or ways in which others adjust information for the learner in order to be fully comprehended (interpsychic). Psychological distance appears to serve both organizing and explanatory functions across seemingly diverse sets of theoretical and research questions, such as differentiation of self in personality development; conceptual representation in cognitive development; dialogue in the development of communication skills; information processing in cognitive science; regulatory mechanisms in the growth of control processes; and concept formation in cross-over areas of cognition, learning and thinking skills.
This volume is based on papers presented as part of the Invitational Conference honoring Irving E. Sigel, Distinguished Research Scientist, at Educational Testing Service. In each of the chapters different models are utilized to account for the construct of psychological distance, and as such, to suggest extensions of Sigel's seminal work in this area. Together, these contributions form the basis of a discussion of psychological distance as a developmental construct -- a construct which permits serious consideration of individual differences as a function of both the process and the product of cognition and ecology.
Table of Contents
Contents: W. Damon, Foreword. Part I:Psychologicl Distance and Developmental Theory. R.R. Cocking, K.A. Renninger, Psychological Distance as a Unifying Theory of Development. K.A. Renninger, R.R. Cocking, Psychological Distance and Behavioral Paradigms. J. Valsiner, R. van der Veer, The Encoding of Distance: The Concept of the Zone of Proximal Development and Its Interpretations. U. Bronfenbrenner, Distancing Theory From a Distance. Part II:Psychological Distance as a Cognitive Demand. J. Kagan, N. Snidman, Temperamental Contributions to Styles of Reactivity to Discrepancy. J.S. DeLoache, Distancing and Dual Representation. W. Mischel, M.L. Rodriguez, Psychological Distance in Self-Imposed Delay of Gratification. M.W. Watson, K.W. Fischer, Structural Changes in Children's Understanding of Family Roles and Divorce. I.E. Sigel, The Centrality of a Distancing Model for the Development of Representational Competence. Part III:Psychological Distance as an Ecological Demand. P.M. Greenfield, Representational Competence in Shared Symbol Systems: Electronic Media From Radio to Video Games. C.U. Shantz, Children's Conflicts: Representations and Lessons Learned. J.V. Wertsch, J.A. Bivens, The Social Origins of Individual Mental Functioning: Alternatives and Perspectives. R.B. McCall, L. Kratzer, Psychological Distance and Underachievement. L. Okagaki, R.J. Sternberg, Putting the Distance Into Students' Hands: Practical Intelligence for School.
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