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ERIC Number: EJ818706
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-3920
Defending Qualitative Change: The View from Dynamical Systems Theory
Spencer, John P.; Perone, Sammy
Child Development, v79 n6 p1639-1647 Nov-Dec 2008
A central controversy in developmental science, enflamed by nativist accounts, is whether development is best viewed as a series of qualitative or continuous changes. This article defends the notion of qualitative change from the perspective of dynamical systems theory (DST). Qualitative change within DST refers to the shift that occurs when a system goes from one attractor state through an instability into a different attractor state. Such changes occur on the second-to-second timescale of behavior. Thus, developmental analysis must always stay local, grounded in the real-time attractor states around which behavior is organized. This article also demonstrates that qualitative and continuous change should not be cast in opposition. They are aligned concepts that work together across multiple timescales.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A