Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

Sergienko E.A. Development of symbolic functions and metacognitive abilities

Elena A. Sergienko, Dr. of Sci. (Psychology), professor, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; bld. 13–1, st. Yaroslavskaya, Moscow, Russia, 129366; sergienkoea@ipran.ru

The article is devoted to the discussion of the development of symbolic functions and their place in metacognitive abilities. The problems of the relationship between the symbol and the sign, their understanding at the present stage are discussed. Symbolization in play, drawing, speech development presupposes the ability to simultaneously perceive both the signified and the denoting, in addition, to connect them with each other. Therefore, a double representation is required, which raises the question of the relationship between the development of symbolic functions and metacognitive ability. The heterochrony in the development of the use and understanding of symbolic means in the game and drawing in children aged 3–6 is demonstrated. An assumption is made about a complex dynamic system of intellectual abilities and Theory of mind, which make a different contribution to the implementation of symbolic functions in the process of development. The level approach to the development of the model of the mental from fragmentary models to situation-dependent and situation-independent, the formation of which occurs at an early and preschool age, makes it clear why the use of symbolic means is ahead of their understanding, which requires a certain age architecture of both metacognitive abilities and abilities ” reading” of the mental states, why in drawing, which is less contextual than the game, more cognitive abilities and the abilities of the mental model are consolidated. The metacognitive system undergoes reorganization in the preschool period: from the interaction of non-verbal intelligence, an undifferentiated mental model and the use of symbolic means to an increase in the role of verbal intelligence mediated by a differentiated mental model, which leads to an understanding of symbolic means in play and drawing. The heterogeneity and heterochrony of the development of the use and understanding of symbolic means and changes in the provision of cognitive abilities and mental models in different types of symbolic activity (playing and drawing) do not confirm a single line of development as the causes of further mental development (L.S. Vygotsky), but also contradict views of J. Piaget, where symbolization is subject to the general logic of cognitive development.

Key words: symbolic functions, metacognition, mental model, symbol, sign, preschoolers, game, drawing, heterochrony

For citation: Sergienko, E.A. (2022). Development of symbolic functions and metacognitive abilities. New Psychological Research, No. 1, 5–33. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2022_02_01_01

keywords: symbolic functions, metacognition, mental model, symbol, sign, preschoolers, game, drawing, heterochrony

received 18 March 2022

published 18 March 2022

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