Intended as supplemental reading in courses on theories of development, this book augments traditional core texts by providing students with more depth on about two dozen recent and emerging theories that have appeared over the past 20 years. This period has seen a decline of the traditional "grand" theories that attempt to apply to all people all the time in favor of "micro theories" that focus more on individual differences, so a book like this actually points the way toward the future rather than dryly reviewing the past. In addition, the author inspects the changing ways in which the concept of "theory" itself has been interpreted during this period, and he concludes with a chapter suggesting future directions.
Chapter 3: Connectionism and Dynamic Systems
Connectionism and Dynamic Systems
Neither connectionism nor dynamic systems identifies a single theory but, rather, each term refers to a cluster of theories. Dynamic-systems theories are attempts to describe the flow of relationships among the components of some whole phenomenon, such as the solar system, the actions of a steel spring, or the behavior of a child. Connectionism could be considered a subvariety of dynamic systems that is aimed at solving the age-old mind/brain mystery. That mystery is reflected in the questions: When people have thoughts, feelings, memories, plans, hopes, and dreams going on in their minds, what exactly is happening in their brains? In other words, what sorts of electrochemical activities among the neurons of the brain accompany different sorts of ...