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Published: April 3, 2011

Jerome Seymour Bruner (1915– )

American psychologist and theorist noted for his research and writings on the learning process. A successor to Swiss psychologist JEAN PIAGET as a leader in the field of cognition, Bruner depicted learning and the acquisition of knowledge as a three-part process involving “enactive knowledge,” “iconic knowledge” and “symbolic knowledge.” Enactive knowledge is acquired by doing; iconic knowledge by picturing it in one’s mind; and symbolic knowledge by organizing it with abstract symbols such as words. A graduate of Duke and Harvard universities, he was a professor of psychology at Harvard from 1956 to 1972. He founded the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies in 1960 and headed it until 1972, when he accepted a professorship at Oxford University.