Computational Developmental Psychology
by Thomas R. Shultz
$38 322 pages ISBN 0-262-19483-X
Despite decades of scientific research, the core issues of
child development remain too complex to be explained by traditional verbal
theories. These issues include structure and transition, representation and
processing, innate and experiential determinants of development, stages of
development, the purpose and end of development, and the relation between
knowledge and learning. This book shows how computational modeling can be used
to capture these complex phenomena, and lays the foundation for a new subfield
of developmental psychology, computational developmental psychology.
A principal approach in developmental thinking is the constructivist one. Constructivism is the Piagetian view that the child builds new cognitive structures by using current mental structures to understand new events. The book features constructivist models using neural networks that grow as well as learn. This allows for qualitative changes in processing mechanisms and implements synaptogenesis and neurogenesis. The book's appendices provide additional background on the mathematical concepts used, and its website contains useful computational packages.
Thomas R. Shultz is Professor of Psychology and Computer Science and Director of the Laboratory of Natural and Simulated Cognition at McGill University.