Mina Verba
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 28 Issue 5

Additional Options

The construction of knowledge is dependent upon a system of relations linking the child's skills to a variety of interactive contexts, which are governed, in turn, by broader social influence. However, the child plays an active role in the cognitive and social management of exchanges. The issue lies in the articulation of intra‐ and inter‐individual processes in knowledge elaboration. Analysis of the dynamics of change and socio‐cognitive mechanisms underlying child's performance can shed light on this topic. In elaboration processes at the individual level, cognitive and metacognitive knowledge enter into the child's awareness of his/her difficulties, the need for help from others, and the integration of new information to knowledge‐in‐construction. Helping relations are part of interpersonal dynamics, whose forms are dependent on various situational factors. In direct exchanges, a variety of mechanisms such as imitation, conflict in viewpoint and reorganization, and guidance/tutoring may account for cognitive progress. The management of the situation is shared by the child and his/her partner(s), but to varying degrees as a function of the type of interactive dynamics at work. In contrast, in indirect exchanges, child productions are dependent on a metasystem of control whose mechanisms are extremely difficult to capture. However, different general mechanisms—such as recourse to an internalized model, conflict between models, reorganization through emotional or social resources—may also play a role at this molar level. These mechanisms present commonalities with those identified at interpersonal level, and it is warranted to raise the issue of the similarity between socio‐cognitive organizations at different levels of interaction.

© 1993 International Union of Psychological Science