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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the mutually defining and supportive relations between psychological development and the sociocultural contexts in which development occurs. It begins with the historical and functional basis of these relations offered by evolutionary psychology. Then the chapter discusses sociocultural contexts and why they are important for understanding development. Two contexts are highlighted: (1) social interaction that conveys cultural knowledge and ways of thinking to children and (2) participation in everyday activities, cultural practices, and cultural tools that embody the goals, and means to reach these goals, that are valued in the culture. The chapter aims to demonstrate how studying the sociocultural contexts of development provides unique and valuable insight into psychological growth.

Keywords: cultural practices, cultural tools, everyday activities, social interaction, sociocultural contexts, zone of proximal development, scaffolding, guided participation, adult–child conversation

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