New approaches to understanding how organisms develop are evolving in the field of developmental psychology. This book brings together for the first time researchers and theorists from three emerging approaches to development: ecological realism, dynamic systems, and epigenetic systems. Within these views, ecological refers to a consideration of the whole organism–environment system, that is, how organisms and environment mutually determine each other throughout development. This eloquent volume will make fascinating reading for researchers and advanced students who are interested in exploring development from an ecological perspective.
Table of Contents

List of Contributors


  1. Introduction: Ecological Realism, Dynamic Systems, and Epigenetic Systems Approaches to Development
    —Cathy Dent-Read and Patricia Zukow-Goldring
  2. An Ecological Psychologist's Prolegomena for Perceptual Development: A Functional Approach
    —Eleanor J. Gibson

I. Ecological Realism

  1. An Ecological Approach to Infants' Perception of Intonation Contours as Meaningful Aspects of Speech
    —Robin Panneton Cooper
    • Comment on Cooper
      —Timothy D. Johnston
  2. Early Development of the Ecological Self
    —Philippe Rochat
    • Comment on Rochat
      —Paula Fitzpatrick
  3. Change and Variation in Responses to Perceptual Information
    —Nancy de Villiers Rader
    • Comment on Rader
      —Edward S. Reed
  4. On the Early Development of Predictive Abilities
    —Claes von Hofsten
    • Comment on von Hofsten
      —Karl M. Newell
  5. A Social Ecological Realist Approach to the Emergence of the Lexicon: Educating Attention to Amodal Invariants in Gesture and Speech
    —Patricia Zukow-Goldring
    • Comment on Zukow-Goldring
      —Timothy D. Johnston
  6. A Naturalistic Study of Metaphor Development: Seeing and Seeing As
    —Cathy Dent-Read
    • Comment on Dent-Read
      —Katherine A. Loveland
  7. The Development of Tool Use: Changing Boundaries Between Organism and Environment
    —A. W. Smitsman
    • Comment on Smitsman
      —Edward S. Reed
  8. Perceptual Learning, Categorizing, and Cognitive Development
    —Anne D. Pick
    • Comment on Pick
      —Karl M. Newell

II. Dynamic Systems

  1. A Dynamical Systems Perspective on the Development of Complex Adaptive Skill
    —Jane E. Clark
    • Comment on Clark
      —Karl M. Newell
  2. Information, Creativity, and Culture
    —Alan Fogel
    • Comment on Fogel
      —Reuben M. Baron and Endre Kadar

III. Epigenetic Systems

  1. The Effects of Nonobvious Forms of Experience on the Development of Instinctive Behavior
    —David B. Miller
    • Comment on Miller
      —Timothy D. Johnston
  2. Perspectives on an Ecological Approach to Social Communicative Development in Infancy
    —James A. Green and Gwen E. Gustafson
    • Comment on Green and Gustafson
      —Timothy D. Johnston

Epilogue: Where Does the Animal End and the Environment Begin…And End?
—Patricia Zukow-Goldring and Cathy Dent-Read

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Editor Bios

Cathy Dent-Read, PhD, is Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Women, University of California, Los Angeles. While editing this book she was at the Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action in the Psychology Department, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Dr. Dent-Read is on the editorial board of Metaphor and Symbol and was guest editor of a special issue of Developmental Psychobiology. Her research for the past 16 years has focused on the role of perceiving in processes of knowing and in using language as children develop from infancy into childhood. Specifically, she has studied how direct perceiving forms the basis of metaphor in both language and action and how metaphors develop in complexity both in terms of content and of structure. Such a realist approach to knowing and to language builds on ecological theories of perception and provides an alternative to traditional approaches to knowledge and language.

Patricia Zukow-Goldring, PhD, is Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Women, University of California, Los Angeles. During the preparation of this volume, Dr. Zukow-Goldring was in the Psychology and Social Behavior Department, School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Zukow-Goldring has edited Sibling Interaction Across Cultures: Methodological and Theoretical Issues and has served as guest editor of Developmental Psychobiology. Her research explores how children come to notice, participate in, and communicate within daily activities at home and at school. She proposes a social ecological realist approach that documents how a range of caregivers, including family members and teachers, propagate perceiving, acting, and knowing by educating children's attention.

Dr. Zukow-Goldring has conducted her studies among rural and urban families in central Mexico, and among Latino working-class and European American middle-class families in the western United States.