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Book: Understanding and Interaction in Clinical and Educational Settings

Chapter: 4. Process Narratives and Models of Cognition

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27836


Chapter Four examines the differences between process narratives and mental models. Unlike approaches to memory and understanding that emphasize operations of reasoning within the mind, the process narrative approach accounts for both the material and mental components of understandings. Rather than focusing on the artifacts, such as stories that result from interpretation activities, it emphasizes the enduring linkage of information, interpretation activities, resources in settings, culturally influenced patterns of expression, and frames of reference. In that regard, the clinical and classroom data analysis shows how the creation and expansion of mental models or schemata take place. This chapter examines information constraints in the production of understandings and beliefs, comparing process narratives to Schank and Abelson’s story approach to memory, and reconsidering categories of mental operations, including functional fixedness, oracular reasoning, Rumelhart and Norman’s typology of learning (accretion, tuning, and restructuring), and D’Andrade’s discussion of the role of contentful sense of contingency in solving logic problems.

Chapter Contributors

  • Barry Saferstein ([email protected] - book-auth-439) 'California State University, San Marcos'