Beyond the Anomaly: Where Piaget and Bruner Meet

  • Chiara Fioretti
  • Andrea SmortiEmail author
Regular Article


The aim of this work is to focus on a basic concept in Brunerian narrative theory, that of violation of canonicity, showing how it relates to other basic concepts of cognitive theories such as anomaly, expectation and relationship between constancy and variability. To reach this aim, we will firstly discuss the Piagetian theory, in particular regarding the way in which the child deals with new and interesting events moved from the need to face and produce “spectacles interessantes” by means of experiencing the violation of canonicity. We will also briefly consider some results of neurosciences studies pointing out that the constancy-variability issue is at the base of human development. Secondly, we will show the convergence between Piagetian theory and Brunerian theory of narration, producing some examples of how violation of canonicity can occur in children and adults.


Norm Violation Surprise Narrative development 



Andrea Smorti has received a Research Grant from Regione Toscana POR 2014–2020.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The Researchers complied with the ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All the mentioned studies were carried out in accordance with the ethical standards.

Human Subjects

No human subjects were involved in the preparation of the article.


No animals were used or mentioned.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Sciences and PsychologyUniversity of FlorenceFirenzeItaly

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