Embracing complexity in the study of executive function and its development

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Bill Overton's groundbreaking contributions to developmental theory and research have long been an inspiration to us both, and in this chapter, we briefly describe Bill's influence on our work on cognitive development, including our research on pretend play and executive function. We also address what we believe may be Bill's most profound contribution to the field of developmental psychology, his articulation of a meta-theoretical framework for understanding developmental systems, relational meta-theory. His meta-theoretical view has evolved over the years (Overton, 2010, 2013), but the seeds of this relational, contextualist approach were sown as early as the 1970s (e.g., Overton, 1973; Overton & Reese, 1973), and his writing has always been at the forefront of emerging developmental systems views (e.g., see Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Gottlieb, 1992; Lerner, 1991; Oyama et al., 2001; Sameroff & Chandler, 1975).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvancing Developmental Science
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophy, Theory, and Method
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781351704564
ISBN (Print)9781138960039
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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