ERIC Number: ED024466
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1968
The Distancing Hypothesis: A Hypothesis Crucial to the Development of Representational Competence.
Representational competence refers to the individual's capability to respond appropriately to external representations. For example, a child engaged in a grouping task may collect together all like objects even if the group contains varying representations of the object, including (1) the object itself, (2) a three-dimensional likeness of the object, (3) a picture of the object, and (4) a word that symbolizes the object. Research indicated that middle class children generally demonstrate much greater representational competence than disadvantaged black children. The acquisition of representational competence is in part obtained from experiences which create temporal, spatial, or psychological distance between self and object. This process is termed "distancing," and the hypothesis offered to explain it is called the "distancing hypothesis." In short, representational competence is the resultant of experiences creating an awareness of the difference between objects and their symbols and an awareness of ideas from actions. Although some authorities have said the crucial period for obtaining these distancing experiences is the first 2 years of life, recent data suggest that the crucial period is between 2 and 4 years of age. (WD)
Descriptors: Abstract Reasoning, Associative Learning, Child Development, Classification, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Processes, Conservation (Concept), Disadvantaged, Distance, Early Experience, Environmental Influences, Hypothesis Testing, Language Role, Learning Disabilities, Preschool Children, Preschool Learning, Symbolic Learning
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Merrill-Palmer Inst., Detroit, MI.