ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Psychology & Psychiatry

Knowing is a Process: Jerome Bruner

Updated on November 1, 2012


Through the 20th century, Jean Piaget dominated the area of developmental psychology. He explained how a child's mind processing develops and matures in stages. Shortly after Piaget, Lev Vygotsky's theory claims who said children learn through interactions with other people. In the 1960's, the cognitive revoluation was building up. Mental processes were being explained by the "information processor" of the brain.

Bruner's New Approach

Jerome Bruner studied the ways that our needs and motivations influence perception. He concludes that we see what we need to see, much like how a magician gets away with his tricks. Bruner became interested in how cognition developed and began to study the cognitive processess in children.

Bruner applied cognitive models to the ideas of Piaget and Vygotsky. Instead of focusing on the construction of meaning, he narrowed his vision onto the processing of information. Much like Piaget, Bruner believed that acquiring knowledge was an experiental process. However, like Vygotsky, he saw acquiring knowledge through a social occupation. Learning cannot be conducted without assistence. Some form of instruction is essential to a child's development, but instruction teaches them to participate in the process. When we absorb knowledge we need to actively participate and reason, instead of passively absorbing information, mainly because this gives knowledge reasoning. Reasoning is seen as processing information, so knowledge should be seen as a process without an end result. Humans need encouragement and guidance in that process in the role of a teacher.

In his book, The Process of Education, Bruner expressed the idea that children should be active participants in the process of education. The book altered the educational policy in the United States.

Stages of Bruner's Thinking

  • We learn by active experience + Instructing someone is not just telling them something but encouraging them to participate ->
  • We acquire knowledge through the use of reasoning, by constructing meaning from the information ->
  • This is a form of information processing ->
  • Knowing is a process, not a product.

Jerome Bruner

Born in New York City, Jerome Seymour Bruner was born the child of Polish immigrants. According to doctors, he was born blind and underwent cataract surgery at age 2 to be able to gain sight of his surroundings. At age 12, his father died of cancer. With his father gone, his mother moved the family constantly during his school years. Bruner studied psychology at Duke University, then at Harvard where he achieved a PhD in 1941.

Bruner served in the US Army's Office for Strategic Studies which was an intelligence unit during World War II. After the war, he returned to Harvard. In 1960, he cofounded the Center for Cognitive Studies with a fellow professor and close friend until the center closed in 1972. The ten years after, he taught at Oxford University in England. He continued to teach in the United States into his nineties.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 5 years ago from United States

      I would be curious about how this theory has been applied.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am finding in my teaching that participation is king. Even if it is just a someone joining with a yea.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)