The eye of the beholder: The interplay of social and cognitive components in change

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Sociocultural and cognitive perspectives hold to epistemically different views on knowledge acquisition and change. While sociocultural perspectives point to social experience as the principal source of knowledge, cognitive perspectives emphasize the importance of the individual mind and reasoning as the primary source of knowledge. Herein, I argue that both sociocultural and cognitive influences are critical catalysts in conceptual change and that integration of these components is vital to learning. As a mechanism for supporting this contention, I explore the epistemic views of students and the role those views play in knowledge acquisition and change. Specifically, I propose a framework built on students' understandings of the relations between belief and knowledge within the change process. In over-viewing the framework, I consider potential catalysts for knowledge acquisition and change. Finally, I highlight two instructional approaches that effectively integrate the social and cognitive dimensions of change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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