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Bruner thought of cognitive development in terms of modes of representation:

The enactive mode

  • Dominant in babies, who first represent or understand the world through their actions.
  • Knowledge is stored as 'muscle memory'.
  • When we learn to ride a bike, knowledge is represented in our enactive mode - we can't learn to ride based on people showing or telling us what to do.

The iconic mode

  • Represents knowledge through visual or auditory likeness, images or icons.
  • Baby can acquire object permanence in this mode.
  • Once children are dominated by their mode, they can represent fairly large amounts of information.
  • However, children dominated by their


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