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Implicit Theories: An Alternative to Modeling Cognition and Its Development

  • Robert J. Sternberg
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)

Abstract

Theories of cognition can be classified as being of two kinds: explicit and implicit. Explicit theories of cognition are constructions of psychologists or other scientists that are based, or at least tested, on data collected from people performing tasks presumed to measure cognitive functioning. For example, a battery of cognitive tests might be administered to a large group of people and the data from these tests analyzed to isolate the proposed sources of cognitive functioning in test performance. Implicit theories of cognition are constructions of people (psychologists or laypersons) that reside in the minds of these individuals. Such theories need to be discovered rather than. invented because they already exist, in some form, in people’s heads. The goal in research on implicit theories is to find out the form and content of people’s informal theories of cognition. Thus, one attempts to reconstruct already existing theories rather than to construct new theories. The data of interest are people’s communications regarding their notions about the nature of cognition or its aspects. For example, a survey of questions regarding the nature of cognition might be administered to a large group of people and the data from this survey analyzed in order to reconstruct people’s belief systems.

Keywords

Social Competence Implicit Theory Importance Rating Adult Life Span Interpretable Factor 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Sternberg

There are no affiliations available

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