Imitation and the dialectic of representation

Philip D Zelazo, Stella Felix Lourenco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this paper, we take up Kessen's challenge to develop a philosophically and historically informed developmental theory by describing a theory of the understanding and use of representations that draws heavily on the hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and the genetic epistemology of James Mark Baldwin. This theory, which construes representation to be intrinsically mimetic, characterizes the development of representational understanding as internalization (cf. Vygotsky, 1978), and emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and psychological distancing for the decontextualization of representations from the circumstances in which they were created. Self-reflection is described in terms of a process model of recursive consciousness, the Levels of Consciousness Model (Zelazo, 1999, 2000; Zelazo & Zelazo, 1998).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-78
Number of pages24
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

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