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Assimilation, Accommodation, and the Dynamics of Personality Development

Jack Block
Child Development
Vol. 53, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 281-295
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1128971
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1128971
Page Count: 15
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Assimilation, Accommodation, and the Dynamics of Personality Development
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Abstract

The present essay specifies some problems in the Piagetian characterizations of assimilation and accommodation and offers an alternative formulation intended to resolve some conceptual anomalies. The dynamics underlying the orthogenetic principle of Werner are derived from this revised and restricted conceptualization of assimilation and accommodation as separable adaptive strategies. Piaget's views on the development of thought are then related to the domain of personality. Equilibration, according to Piaget the "motive" for cognitive growth, is argued to be a manifestation of the individual's orientation to limit anxiety by maintaining or constructing an understanding of the world that is not disconfirmed. This view of equilibrium permits the encompassment of a variety of observations that otherwise seem disparate (e. g., regarding the dynamics of anxiety, the concepts of resiliency or competence, and sex differences).

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