A Dynamic Systems Approach to Development


What do laser lights, crystals, walking, reaching, and concepts have in common? All are complex dynamic systems. Over the last decade, the burgeoning fields of synergetics and nonlinear dynamics have shown in mathematically precise ways how such complex systems can produce emergent order from the cooperation of many simpler elements. A Dynamic Systems Approach to Development explores the value of dynamical systems principles for solving the enduring puzzles of development, including the ultimate source of change, the problems of continuity and discontinuities, and nonlinear outcomes and individual differences.

This companion volume to the forthcoming A Dynamic Systems Approach to the Development of Cognition and Action shows how the ideas of dynamic systems may form the basis for a new theory of human development. The problems considered include areas of motor development, perceptual and cognitive development, and social development. The use of dynamic systems ranges from the metaphorical to the rigorously mathematical, but in all cases the contributions present a step forward in developmental theory.

Table of Contents

  1. Contributors
  2. Series Foreword
  3. Preface
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. I. From the Dynamics of Motor Skills to the Dynamics of Development
  6. 1. Dynamic Pattern Formation: A Primer

    J. A. Scott Kelso, Mingzhou Ding and Gregor Schöner

  7. 2. Dynamic Systems in Development: Action Systems

    Eugene C. Goldfield

  8. 3. On the Development of Walking as a Limit-Cycle System

    Jane E. Clark, Terri L. Truly and Sally J. Phillips

  9. 4. New Ways to Think About Old Questions

    Mary Ann Robertson

  10. 5. Behavioral Chaos: Beyond the Metaphor

    Steven S. Robertson, Avis H. Cohen and Gottfried Mayer-Kress

  11. II. Can Dynamic Systems Theory Be Usefully Applied in Areas other than Motor Development?
  12. 6. Dynamic Approaches to Infant Perception and Action: Old and New Theories About the Origins of Knowledge

    George Butterworth

  13. 7. Behavioral and Emotional States in Infancy: A Dynamic Perspective

    Peter H. Wolff

  14. 8. Complementary Processes in the Perception and Production of Human Movements

    Bennett I. Bertenthal and Jeannine Pinto

  15. 9. The Dynamics of Action and Interaction

    Darren Newtson

  16. 10. A Dynamic Systems Model of Cognitive Growth: Competition and Support Under Limited Resource Conditions

    Paul van Geert

  17. 11. Toddlers' Achievement of Coordinated Action with Conspecifics: A Dynamic Systems Perspective

    Carol O. Eckerman

  18. 12. Systems and Language: Implications for Acquisition

    Michael Tucker and Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek

  19. 13. Commentary: The Strange Attractiveness of Dynamic Systems to Development

    Richard N. Aslin

  20. Author Index
  21. Subject Index