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P. Spencer, M. Clearfield, D. Corbetta, B. Ulrich, P. Buchanan, and G Sch\"oner (2006)

Moving toward a grand theory of development: in memory of Esther Thelen.

Child Development, 77(6):1521–1538.

This paper is in memory of Esther Thelen, who passed away while President of the Society for Research in Child Development. A survey of Esther Thelen's career reveals a trajectory from early work on simple movements like stepping, to the study of goal-directed reaching, to work on the embodiment of cognition, and, ultimately, to a grand theory of development–dynamic systems theory. Four central concepts emerged during her career: (1) a new emphasis on time; (2) the proposal that behavior is softly assembled from the interaction of multiple subsystems; (3) the embodiment of perception, action, and cognition; and (4) a new respect for individuality. Esther Thelen communicated these ideas to scientists and practitioners alike, so the ultimate benefactors of her work were children.
Child Development; History, 20th Century; History, 21st Century; Humans; Infant; Infant Behavior; Learning; Movement; Psychological Theory; United States
Relevant for: WP6 hierarchical architectures. General theory of development.