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Abstract

Neuroconstructivism is a theoretical framework focusing on the construction of representations in the developing brain. Cognitive development is explained as emerging from the experience-dependent development of neural structures supporting mental representations. Neural development occurs in the context of multiple interacting constraints acting on different levels, from the individual cell to the external environment of the developing child. Cognitive development can thus be understood as a trajectory originating from the constraints on the underlying neural structures. This perspective offers an integrated view of normal and abnormal development as well as of development and adult processing, and it stands apart from traditional cognitive approaches in taking seriously the constraints on cognition inherent to the substrate that delivers it.