ISBN: 9780262363082 | 515 pp. | April 2021

The Working Mind

Meaning and Mental Attention in Human Development

The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

In The Working Mind, Juan Pascual-Leone and Janice M. Johnson propose a general organismic-causal theory that explicates working memory and executive function developmentally and by doing so clarifies the nature of human intelligence. Pascual-Leone and Johnson explain “from within” (that is, from a subject's own processing perspective) cognitive developmental stages of growth, describing key causal factors that can account for the emergence of the working mind as a functional totality. Among these factors is a maturationally growing mental attention. After reviewing meaning-driven processes and constructivist knowledge principles that underlie what Pascual-Leone and Johnson term their Theory of Constructive Operators (TCO), they propose the TCO as as a developmental and neuropsychological approach to human cognitive and affective processes and their development. They present a novel method of mental task analysis that generates from-within process models of subjects' attempts to solve specific tasks. They provide an interpretation of brain semiotic processes that deploys TCO in functionally distinct brain locations. Finally, they show how TCO explicates complex human issues including consciousness, the self, the will, motivation, and individual differences, with applications in education, psychotherapy, and cognitive neuropsychology.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. I. Foundations of a Causal Constructivist Theory: Semiotic Processes
  4. 1. Dialectical Constructivism: The Working Mind Underlying Working Memory
  5. 2. Problems of Cognitive Developmental Theory
  6. 3. Emergence of Mental Attention in Infancy: From Sensorimotor to Symbolic Processing
  7. 4. Meaning, Mental Attention, and the Symbolic Function
  8. II. Theory of Constructive Operators (TCO)
  9. 5. Schemes/Schemas and Their Causal Constructivist Learning
  10. 6. Automatic Attention: Effortless, Perceptual, and Personal
  11. 7. Mental Attention, Intelligence, and Consciousness
  12. III. TCO, Task Analysis, and Neuroscience
  13. 8. Process Analysis and Mental Task Analysis: Foundations
  14. 9. Process and Mental Task Analysis: Methods and Examples
  15. 10. The Working Mind Inside a Working Brain: A Neuropsychological Introduction
  16. 11. The Working Mind Inside a Working Brain: Functional Dimensions in Brain Semiotics
  17. 12. The Working Mind Model across Human Domains
  18. Appendix: On Metasubjective Task Analysis (MTA)
  19. Glossary
  20. Notes
  21. References
  22. Index
  23. Color Plates