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Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Mar;9(3):152-8.

Processes of change in brain and cognitive development.

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Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, School of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1E 7JL, UK.


We review recent advances in the understanding of the mechanisms of change that underlie cognitive development. We begin by describing error-driven, self-organizing and constructivist learning systems. These powerful mechanisms can be constrained by intrinsic factors, other brain systems and/or the physical and social environment of the developing child. The results of constrained learning are representations that themselves are transformed during development. One type of transformation involves the increasing specialization and localization of representations, resulting in a neurocognitive system with more dissociated streams of processing with complementary computational functions. In human development, integration between such streams of processing might occur through the mediation of language.

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