Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Psychological Theories on Dynamic Systems - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 50
Dynamic Systems Theory/Psychological theories: Modern theories of motor skill development emphasise the interaction between nature and nurture. (>Nature and nurture). An important approach here is provided by the dynamic systems theory (Thelen, 1995)(1).
This model takes a constructivist approach to motor skill development. It therefore acknowledges the contribution of both nature and nurture to development and also emphasises the active role that the child takes in its own development. According to dynamic systems theory, at first motor actions rely on the innate reflexes (…).
Gradually, these reflexes are reorganised into new and more complex actions. (…) new motor skills are constructed by infants as they actively reorganise existing behaviours into new and more complex actions. Development is seen as a self-organising system: the infant is driven by curiosity about the world around them to develop more complex motor skills in order to achieve new goals. Interesting sights and sounds in the environment will provide motivation for locomotion, especially where the target is just out of reach.
[The] theory also integrates action, perception and thought as the infant has to think about how to organize
Upton I 51
Locomotion in order to achieve their goals. (von Hofsten, 2007)(2).
Upton I 52
Dynamic Systems Theory/Upton: even if parenting behaviours were found to have influenced the early development of leg movement, this still seems to be good evidence against the cephalocaudal principle and in favour of the dynamic systems theory of motor development. (VsCephalocaudal principle).


1. Thelen, E. (1995) Motor development: a new synthesis. American Psychologist, 50: 79–95.
2. von Hofsten, C., Kochukhova, O. and Rosander, K. (2007) Predictive tracking over occlusions by 4-month-old infants. Developmental Science, 10(5): 625–40.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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