Volume 2   Number 1      Fall 2007

Reconceptualizing Internalization
Noah Susswein, Maximilian B. Bibok, & Jeremy I. M. Carpendale
Simon Fraser University, Canada
pp. 183-205   (pdf)
ABSTRACT. Internalization is a familiar notion in many developmental theories. It is an especially important concept in sociocultural theories that emphasize the role of social interaction and dialogue in the development of human forms of cognition. The metaphor of internalization suggests that social relations are an ‘outside’ and minds an ‘inside’ of developing children. We explore why this metaphor is appealing and explain where we feel it is misleading. We argue that thinking in terms of internalization risks conflating logical and empirical relations between social and psychological phenomena, including construing relations in definition as relations of containment. Our appeal to ‘definitions’ and normative standards leads to an evaluation of explicit versus implicit rules. The intrinsic constraints that implicit rules place on development are discussed and an evolutionary epistemological conception of cognitive development is described.