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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the development of symbol use and symbolic thought across diverse domains (gesture, linguistic, pretense, and the material artifacts of models, pictures, maps, and video). The chapter begins with a clarification of different conceptualizations of central theoretical constructs. Then, evidence to support major theoretical claims in the field is considered. A number of themes emerge from these findings. There is clear evidence that for all domains the onset of symbolic insight is based on solid perceptual, cognitive, learning, and social-cognitive foundations. The importance of social supports from expert symbol users was also evident. New proposals that link symbolic knowledge to the development of consciousness and the uniquely human motive to share promise to generate exciting new developments in this field.

Keywords: symbolic (mediation, thought, relation, artifact, representation, knowledge), mimesis, intentionality (collective/communicative, of actions), representation (pre-representational), reflection, conscious awareness, domain specificity, social supports

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