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ELKONIN, D. B.. Facing the problem of stages in the mental development of children. Educ. rev. [online]. 2012, n.43, pp.149-172. ISSN 0104-4060.

The aim of the article is to discuss the naturalistic and evolutionary concept of mental development, especially in theoretical models which strongly defend a conception of human mental development into stages, relating chronological age and intra and interindividual changes. Such theoretical models dichotomize child psychology in need-motivational and cognitive-intellectual aspects. Intending to surpass this dichotomy, Elkonin considers that human mental development is better understood as a dialectical movement of the assimilation, by the child, since its birth, of the objectives, reasons and norms of human relations and of the acquisition and internalization of the socio-cultural and historically evolved modes of action with objects, within a social group. This dialectical perspective of understanding the development allows: 1. to see the process of mental development as an ascending spiral, rather than linearly, 2. to explain the functional significance of the different periods of development, clarifying their transitional patterns, and 3. to serve as an aid in resolving the question of the susceptibility of the various stages of child development to particular types of influence.

Palabras clave : development; social activity; language; stages; culture.

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