University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > The reluctant collaborator? How developing social understanding shapes knowledge

The reluctant collaborator? How developing social understanding shapes knowledge

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Humans have an instinct for social interaction, and the desire to communicate with others is often assumed to be a key driver for development. However, many models of child development have been criticised for focussing on cognitive processes and casting the child as a solitary problem-solver and a rather asocial and reluctant collaborator. How should we reconcile these different perspectives? This presentation will discuss research that has explored the development of collaboration skills and the social and cognitive processes that underpin this development. A particular focus will be on how aspects of social identity including gender and ethnicity influence children’s communication, problem-solving and learning. It will conclude by suggesting that cognitive and social processes are intertwined in development, and that children’s emerging social competences (typically the focus of research in social psychology) cannot easily be separated from their changing knowledge of the world (the focus of research in developmental psychology). In this respect, autonomous participation in social interactions is a fundamental developmental achievement that has important epistemological consequences. Implications for work in education and children’s social relationships are also discussed.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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