Bibliographical review

Psychological development is not what it seems to be

Jean Nikola Cudina*

* Psychologist, Catholic University of Colombia. Specialist in Applied Statistics, University Foundation Los Libertadores. Psychologist at Editorial Manual Moderno, Colombia,

Puche, R. (Comp.). (2017). El desarrollo cognitivo se reorganiza. Emergencia, cambio, autorregulación y metáforas visuales. [Cognitive development is reorganized. Emergence, change, self-regulation and visual metaphors] Colombia: Editorial Bonaventuriana/Universidad Autónoma de Occidente/California-edit.

"Cognitive development is reorganized" is a provocative book that aims to seduce the thought of the psychologist interested in the process ofthe child's cognitive development. In this book the traditionalist psychologist, accustomed to the comfort of manuals, will encounter a setback that can cause distress: there are no laws that define development, much less a general law that syncretizes development on a time scale marked by skills or competences.

Developmental psychology has been thought, for many years, as a linear process that involves going through a series of inflexible and staggered stages or phases of the expected development. However, this conception has been object of criticism, since an ontological weakness has been evidenced in the studies of developmental psychology as a discipline.

Contrary to this perspective, this work uncovers the theoretical, conceptual and methodological bases that essentially support the perspective of a new developmental psychology, considering that in the course of the four chapters the objective is to achieve a meeting point between non-linear dynamic systems and developmental psychology enrolled in a state-of-the-art conception that has managed to transcend the classical epistemological, ontological and methodological debate.

Throughout the book, empirical arguments and evidences are presented revealing the gradual crisis of the classical theory of developmental psychology, since the theoretical scope thereof implies an impossibility to integrate increasingly central observations. This determines the emergence of what Thomas Kuhn (1971) calls the "scientific revolution" (p.75), since all important progress of knowledge necessarily operates by the bankruptcy and rupture of closed systems that do not have within themselves the fitness of transcendence.

The possibility of reorganizing the ontological principles and the epistemological elements that surround the studies of developmental psychology are contained in this book. Specifically, the complex mechanisms responsible for the changes underlying the trajectories of child development that play an important role in allowing the visualization of movements, transformations and change processes are considered as objects of study in the same.

This ontological organization rests on the rigorous corpus underlying the interior of the complex systems theory and ending with the consequent logics of the so-called dynamic systems. Its theoretical foundation forces to conceive development as an open, dynamic and complex system in which each analysis component is intrinsically related to another. This conception results from an epistemic revolt leading to consider development from another relevant perspective that enables the emergence of new knowledge in strengthening both the theory and the practice in this science.

On the other hand, it is essential to rigorously search and consolidate the methodological designs resulting from the change brought about by the conceptualization of a developmental psychology within the framework of nonlinear dynamic systems. According to this, it is necessary to adjust the designs according to the demand required by the transformation processes in the infant's development, as it has been done in the adaptations of the micro genetic method that have been developed by the research group Cognition and representational development of the Research Center in Psychology, Cognition and Culture of the Universidad del Valle at Cali, with which it is possible to make a record of the child's activity in the face of a problem-solving situation that allows to represent -in the logic of non-linear dynamic systems - the mobilizations of each of the advances and setbacks in the trajectory of their development.

The methodological consolidation (figure) and the theoretical and conceptual bases that are defined in the developmental studies (background) are intertwined through the non-linear dynamic systems and become the model's base fabric seeking the understanding of development centered on the subject and pointing to an epistemic opening that encourages an overcoming of knowledge.

The epistemological rigor constituting this work breaks with any strategic indication leading to the sovereign control of knowledge; and in these terms, this work represents the entrance to a field of psychology that rethinks its theoretical and conceptual foundations in accordance with the demands and requirements arising from the development of science and allowing us to glimpse a terrain full of precedents.

Thus, this book offers an invitation for research on developmental psychology to be strengthened and enriched, since at present there is an absence of studies -in Colombia- that pose a problematization from the perspective of dynamic non-linear systems (Cudina & Ossa, 2016), and the existing ones are methodologically weaker, and narrower conceptually and epistemologically. In this way, the ideas in the area seem exhausted and for a long time this decay has been reflected in the curricula of Colombian Psychology faculties, which continue to teach a developmental psychology based on manuals and less progressive. In this sense, this book constitutes an obligatory reference for the academic training programs of psychologists in Colombia.

Psychology requires a fundamental impulse for the advancement of the diverse fields of knowledge that are gestated within contemporary developmental psychology. It can be said that this book drops an apple so that the traditionalist psychologist gives it a strong bite.


Cudina, J. N., & Ossa, J. C. (2016). The top 100 high-impact papers in Colombian psychology: a bibliometric study from WoS and Scopus. Informação & Sociedade: Estudos, 26(2), 137-154.

Kuhn, T. (1971). La estructura de las revoluciones científicas. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.