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Social Development as Preference Management
How Infants, Children, and Parents Get What They Want from One Another

$44.99 (P)

  • Date Published: April 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521135306

$ 44.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This engaging book presents social development in children through the language of preference management. Conversational excerpts garnered from around the world trace how parents talk about preferences, how infants’ and children’s emergent language conveys their preferences, how children themselves are impacted by others’ preferences, and how they in turn influence the preferences of adults and peers. The language of preferences is used to crack into altruism, aggression, and morality, which are ways of coming to terms with other people’s preferences. Behind the scenes is a cognitive engine that uses transformational thought – conducting temporal, imaginal, and mental transformations – to figure out other people’s preferences and to find more sophisticated means of outmaneuvering others by persuading them and playing with one’s own mind and other people’s minds when preferences are blocked. This book is a unique and sometimes amusing must-read for anyone interested in child development, language acquisition, socialization, and communication.

    • Thematic rather than topical treatment of children's social development
    • Documents children's conversations with parents, teachers, and peers
    • Provides examples from children in different parts of the world and speaking in different languages
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “We are defined by our preferences. As Rachel Karniol points out in this fascinating new look at social development, when asked to describe ourselves, we list our preferences: we love the Red Sox, or playing Bach, or eating ice cream. But how do we arrive at those preferences, and how do we get what we want? How children and parents get what they want from one another involves a complex process of negotiation that begins in infancy, when mothers impute preferences to preverbal infants. As children acquire language, they are socialized to prefer things appropriate to their society and to manage their own preferences. They also have to learn to recognize and deal with the preferences of others. Karniol uses real language data to present an explanation and a theory of social development that has preference management at its core. This scholarly and readable book is filled with eye-opening ideas.”
    – Jean Berko Gleason, Boston University

    “Rachel Karniol makes a convincing case for her claim that an understanding of how children come to manage their preferences – how they learn to prioritize and express their wants and how they learn to juggle their wants with those of others – is necessary for an adequate appreciation of many central facets of social and cognitive development. Her book is an insightful, unique, and fresh perspective and will make excellent reading for academics and graduate students.”
    – David G. Perry, Florida Atlantic University

    “Portraying social development as preference management offers a new and important window into psychological growth. Karniol's theory weaves together themes of social communication, moral development, self-regulation, interpersonal understanding, and conceptual growth into a provocative new understanding of self and social development. Conversational excerpts gathered from children around the world are thoughtfully enlisted to highlight the role of language, and conversation, in the development of preference management. A remarkable, well-written and thought-provoking read of equal value to developmental scientists, practitioners, parents, and others interested in children.”
    – Ross A. Thompson, University of California, Davis

    "This is a wonderful, scholarly written, book that will inspire new ways of looking at social development and socialization processes. The emotionally laden management of intentions and desires is innovatively examined through the framework of preference development. In this context, the author shows brilliantly how intentions and desires are, early on, evaluated against the desires of others and the constraints of reality. She argues convincingly that the need to stand by preferences, or negotiate them in everyday social interaction, allows advances in communication and in language acquisition. The book is very well written and documented. It should be essential reading for students and researchers interested in social development, socialization processes, and the pragmatics of language acquisition, and in general for all those interested in what children have to say."
    – Edy Veneziano, Université Paris Descartes

    "....Karniol has indeed provided an important resource in the study of human development. Researchers will find a wealth of ideas for investigation, and practitioners with the fortitude to persist through a text that consists primarily of descriptions of child–adult conversations rather than descriptions of effective strategies for fostering social development will find valuable insights regarding strategies that can foster the development of transformational thought as well as coping and self-regulation.... Karniol’s book should be required reading in the preparation of researchers interested in child development and recommended reading for educational practitioners. Most important, readers will find her ideas provocative and will be challenged to think about the nature of social development generally and to ponder the question of the appropriateness of the prominence of preferences in our interactions with others and in our conceptions of our identity."
    – Patricia T. Ashton and Ana Carolina Useche, PsycCRITIQUES

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521135306
    • length: 388 pages
    • dimensions: 279 x 215 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.89kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 168 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The baby 'preference game'
    2. Children's expression of preferences
    3. Emerging meta-preferences
    4. Other people's preferences
    5. Parenting and preference management
    6. Channeling children's preferences
    7. Temporizing preferences
    8. Restricting children's preferences
    9. Disciplining non-compliance
    10. Planes of transformational thought: temporal, imaginal, mental
    11. Manipulating others
    12. Coping and self-regulating
    13. Mind play: applying transformational thought
    14. Minding one's own versus others' preferences: altruism, aggression and morality
    15. Tying up.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Child Social Development
    • Child and adolescent peer relationships
    • Development of the Young Child
  • Author

    Rachel Karniol, Tel-Aviv University
    Rachel Karniol is Professor of Social Development at the Department of Psychology and School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She has also previously taught at the University of Toronto, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Tufts University, and the University of Florida. Her work has been published in several edited volumes and in many journals, including Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Child Development, and Developmental Psychology.

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