The Experimental Methodology of Constructive Microgenesis

  • Brady Wagoner


Psychologists congratulate themselves in telling their discipline’s history as a linear progression to its present state, as if psychology was purely rational and free from all historical contingency. In so doing we close ourselves to past ideas that were unjustly left behind and which can make a significant contribution to psychology today. The word ‘experiment’, for example, has taken on a very narrow meaning in contemporary psychology. We are told that for something to be an experiment there must be an independent and dependent variable, a large random sample of participants, and a statistical analysis of scores. These requirements were foreign to psychology in the first half of this last century and only became social norms through influences outside of psychology, such as the military and education (Danziger, 1990).


Target Word Aggregate Analysis Speech Comprehension Picture Card Introspective Report 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I want to thank the Gates Cambridge Trust for generously funding me through my PhD at the University of Cambridge. I would also like to recognize Nicole Kronberger, Hala Mahmoud, Jaan Valsiner, and Tania Zittoun for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Development PsychologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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