Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Dienes & Perner: Implicit and explicit knowledge

A developmental theory of implicit and explicit knowledge?

Diane Poulin-Dubois a1 and David H. Rakison a1
a1 Centre for Research in Human Development, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4B 1R6 {dpoulin; rakison}


Early childhood is characterized by many cognitive developmentalists as a period of considerable change with respect to representational format. Dienes & Perner present a potentially viable theory for the stages involved in the increasingly explicit representation of knowledge. However, in our view they fail to map their multi-level system of explicitness onto cognitive developmental changes that occur in the first years of life. Specifically, we question the theory's heuristic value when applied to the development of early mind reading and categorization. We conclude that the authors fail to present evidence that dispels the view that knowledge change in these areas is dichotomous.